I sit in the coffee shop waiting on my wife, who insisted on ordering the drinks tonight. She’s over at the barista stand mixing in the half-and-half, and the only thing that concerns me is the punk hovering right next to her. Wish to God he’d stop staring at her like that.
Is what it is – if I got up and did something every time someone looked at Loretta, I’d probably be in jail right now. I’m not a criminal; not even a bad ass. I’m just a pool cleaner.
“Excuse me,” Loretta says to the punk.
He rolls his eyes then takes a step back.
Love is a strange thing. You can go your entire life thinking you know what it is, getting a whiff of it now and again, but until you’ve found the right one you’re never going to know. Then again she was only my second girlfriend, so maybe I’m not one to talk.
Loretta journeys in my direction, and the punk follows behind her. Now I’m uncomfortable.
I rise from my seat. “You need something?”
Loretta looks surprised at first, thinking the question was directed at her. When she turns to find the punk is behind her shoulder, she scurries to our table, then meekly takes the seat behind me.
“Yeah,” says the punk. “Your autograph.”
I turn to my wife. She doesn’t say much; her body language does the speaking for her. A cross of her arms and shrug of her shoulder are enough to give me a clue – give the young man what he wants and send him on his way.
- Thomas M. Watt