By @S F Brooke
As I looked into her bright green eyes, I thought that she was too beautiful to have her head down. Her wavy raven-colored hair was in her face as she ordered her coffee but she didn’t move it out of the way. I smiled at her hoping to get a response, but her olive-colored face turned in a different direction. She paid and moved to wait to pick up her drink, her attention station. Picking up her cup I wrote her name, Peridot, her order, plus a small message. I finished with the rest of the line and watched as she picked up her cup. She thanked the barista and put a straw in her drink. The young woman then noticed the small message that I had written on the cup. All it was were the words, ‘You’re beautiful.’ She squinted it, read it, then her head shot up. Her green eyes searched until she found my face. She glanced back at her cup and then nodded at me.
I smiled and our eyes held. I couldn’t read what I found there. She broke away first and walked out the door. This woman named Peridot, such a unique name for such an intriguing figure, came back a week later. I was surprised to hear her voice again. She caught my gaze and smiled slightly. I was fifteen minutes from the end of my shift, so I wrote the time I got off on her cup, along with another short little compliment, as I sent it down the line of others. After my shift was over I ran into the coffeehouse’s bathroom. Checking my short wavy black hair, I ran my fingers through it as I straightened my white t-shirt and splashed water on my face. Five minutes later she was still there, I walked up to her and stuck out my hand.
I said the first words to her that I hadn’t written on a cup. “Hi, my name is Jozeph, you can call me Joe.”
She smiled slightly and shook my hand. “Peridot,” Peridot lifted her cup with a shy half-embarrassed smile, “I guess you already know that but most people call me Perry.”
I sat with her at her table and we talked for a good hour and a half, just asking questions about each other. She was lively and animated but there was something in her bright eyes that I saw was hidden in the depths of her soul that flickered occasionally in her irises. Peridot and I were hitting it off, and I was liking this girl more and more. I learned that she was twenty, a year younger than me. She has an older brother that she lives with, for a split moment I saw that flicker in her eyes, but her smile never wavered. It turns out that we actually work quite close to each other as she works at the photography shop about a block down from where I work at the coffeehouse.
“Okay,” I said to her, continuing with our theme of weird questions to ask one another. “What nationality are you?”
Perry, as she encouraged me to call her, tapped her thumb on one of her rings on her right hand as she thought. “Umm, let’s see. I’m three-fourths Native American, and one-fourth Irish, which is where I got my green eyes from, or so my mother says. The black hair is from the Native American parts. What about you?” She asked, waving a hand towards my overall appearance.
My chest puffed out a little with pride as I explained, “My dad is Spanish, that’s where I got my darker skin from and my mom is actually German. I got my blue eyes from her.”
Perry made a funny face and placed her hands on the table, she squinted and studied me. “Weird combination, Spanish and German. Never would have guessed.”
I smiled, leaning back comfortably in my chair, and waved a hand at her, “Like I would have guessed Native American and Irish!”
She chuckled as she nodded her acknowledgment.
My watch beeped as an alarm I had set earlier went off. I looked at it, raising my eyebrows as I realized how much time had passed as the two of us had talked, “Dang, it’s eight-thirty already?” Looking out the window I was that the twilight sky had replaced the blue and neither one of us had noticed.
Peridot’s eyes shot towards to clock on her phone as she whispered, “Oh no.” She shot out of her chair, grabbed her purse, and started shrugging on her jacket. “I’m sorry…. so sorry,” She stammered as she gave me a quick smile. “but…umm… I…I have to go.” Her eyes were panicked as she looked at the clock again.
“Perry?” I asked, standing up and putting a gentle hand on her shoulder, “Are you okay?”
Her head shot up and her hair fell in her face, which she didn’t push back. “Oh! Yeah! I’m good, I just forgot that I had some plans and I’m late now.” She smiled but it was strained.
I nodded, accepting her answer although something inside of me said it was a lie. “Well, here, let me give you my number,” I told her as I quickly wrote down my phone number on a spare napkin on our table.
She looked at the napkin, before giving me that shy smile again. A real smile this time. “Thank you, Joe.” Peridot looked at the clock again, “I really have to go now.” With a wave, she ran out of the shop with her head down and shoulders hunched.
I sat back down in my chair and pondered at her expression. She didn’t seem worried, she seemed….afraid.
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