The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: On Days Like This

February 26, 2011

On Days Like This

"My brother died on a day like this," she said, "So now on really sunny days, I think of someone dying."
-Claire, The Town

On a day like this, with clear, blue skies, white sunlight, and crisp cool air, we rode in a car to Venice Beach. It was February, much too cold to go to the beach, but you were visiting from Chicago where it was below zero, so this actually felt like summer for you.

I was delighted you were finally here, beside me, instead of just that far away voice on an unpredictable cell phone line. I wanted to touch your skin; hold your hand. It'd been two months since I'd last seen you. Two months of my longing, my waiting, my yearning. I had so much to say to you.

You pulled out a cell phone and called Chicago.

On a day like this, we walked along the beach. As the warmth of sunshine retreated into twilight, I shivered. I was much too cold. We'd been walking for four hours, and all I wanted was dinner. I didn't say a word because I was so eager to please. I wanted you to think that I was one of those girls who was game for anything, rather than one of those who complained too much over things too inconsequential.

You kept on walking, we didn't eat until well past nine that night.

Sometimes, on days like this, with the sky so blue, the sun so bright, and the air ever so crisp, I'm struck by a yearning I can't explain. Yearning for something as simple as sitting at a cafe across from a dark-haired man with a kind smile. Him, reaching for my hand, perhaps for the hundredth time, and me, still feeling that little thrill. This yearning gives me hope for what is not yet.

But too, this yearning fills me with dread. Dread that the kind smile is really one of thin patience, that the reaching for my hand is merely out of habit, and that the thrill is all my own. I think it's because days like this remind me of that day when I so desperately wanted you, but you had already left, and I probably knew it, but chose not to say a word. Instead I just tried harder - smiled wider, laughed louder, walked longer, talked about everything I thought you cared about. Everything, except what I really wanted to say.

On days like this, I think of someone dying.

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