My Coffee Girl

Jc Wordsmith By Jc Wordsmith, 7th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Fictional Narrative

A short story about the beginning of a love between a deaf person and a hearing person at a coffee shop.

Day One: Discovery

Sometimes I just need to get out of the house and breathe. So I left the warmth of my home to walk along snowy sidewalks seeking air and peace. The walk is brisk because it is so cold I can see my breath in quick bursts. I may just walk until I cannot walk another step. I may just walk until the city is far behind me and I can see only farm fields all around me. I could do those things but I know that I won’t. That is just how I feel sometimes. Sometimes I feel so trapped in this silence that I just want to walk until there is not another breath left in me.
Instead, I find myself seeking the warmth and comfort of a coffee shop that just recently opened. How does that work? I leave my breath-stealing home for open air only to seek comfort inside a warm coffee shop, bustling with people and energy. I felt movement and hot breaths all around me. Perhaps loneliness seeks solace even when the bearer of the pain does not realize solace is wanted or needed.
It is a lovely coffee shop. There are the usual booths and tables as one might expect but there are also soft, low leather chairs and couches as well. I see all around me folks greeting and laughing together over their coffee and treats. This does not bring me peace. It only makes me feel more alone. I have no one to laugh with and no one to talk to with such familiarity. Rather than wallow in my loneliness I approached the counter to ask for a cup of coffee with cream and a bagel with lox and cream cheese. The coffee girl says something to me. I try to fake understanding with a smile and a nod. She then looks at me with an arched eyebrow; a questioning look. I just ignored it and moved along so the next customer can get a coffee fix too.
Sweet, this place has a fireplace. I headed right over there and picked a chair close to it so that I could warm my cold feet and hands while I enjoyed my coffee and bagel. Now that I know this is a cool place to hang out I can bring my books, writing ideas, and laptop with me because I can see others using laptops. Awesome, the shop offers free Wi-Fi! It just gets better and better. I picked up a newspaper and read every article in it so I could stay there for a while without looking odd. Occasionally, I look around the room and watched people. I love to watch people, especially when they are unaware of my attentive eyes. For the most part, though, I simply enjoyed watching the coffee girl move behind the counter cleaning and making coffee. She has a pretty smile.
As the afternoon sun moved along the sky, I realized I had been there for a few hours lingering over a cold cup of unfinished coffee and a newspaper I should have memorized by now. I continued to sneak looks at the coffee girl, too. Next time I come in I will get her name. Though, I must admit, Coffee Girl does have a nice ring to it.
Sometimes when I am watching her, she looks right at me and I just dart my eyes away as quickly as I can. When I dare to look back again she has this little grin on her lips that barely lifts one corner. And her eyes look like a laugh is about to come bubbling up.
After another bout of watching her and blushing three shades of red I realize that I had been here long enough to look like a fool. Alright, it’s time to go. As I walked out the door, I chanced one more look at the coffee girl. This time she has a different smile. She looks wistful; almost sad. I just lifted my hand in a small wave and looked away in case the wave was not returned.
The walk home is slower; more at ease. The breaths that I see in front of my face are longer and seem to float rather than burst from my lungs. My steps seem lighter, less determined to trudge through the snow. How can I feel so light when my heart feels so heavy? All I can think about is the look on the coffee girl’s face. She looked sad. Why does that make me feel light inside?

Day Two: Her Smile

The next morning I woke with a different feeling inside of me. Usually when I wake up I feel enveloped in the darkness of my bedroom. I am becoming used to the silence, but it still makes me feel trapped. I am learning to deal with deafness in my own way. Time is helping, but the isolation is ever present. But this morning I felt a smile in my heart that had not been there for a very long time. I felt breaths in my lungs that are fresh and excited to be alive. For the first time in two years I feel alive! Instead of slowly getting out of bed and dragging my feet to the bathroom to start my day like I usually do, I moved with a purpose to get the day going.

After my shower, I got dressed and ready to go. Coffee time! I feel a laugh at the back of my throat. I grabbed my backpack that I had filled with books and my laptop before turning in for the night and headed out the door. My walk to the coffee shop was again brisk and my breaths were quick bursts in front of my face. But this time I held my face up to the sun and sky. I am eager and alive, ready to see her again. I am not sure why I am excited. But there it is. I am.
When I walked into the shop this time I looked around the room at all the people visiting and laughing together over their coffee and treats, but this time I smile too. When I approached the counter to see the coffee girl, my bubble burst. There, standing before me, was a young man who could not be much more than a high school sophomore. I looked around to see if she was there. She was not. So I just ordered my food and coffee and sat at a table so I could eat and leave since there appeared to be no reason to linger.
After quickly eating my bagel and finishing my coffee I prepared to leave. When I looked up from the table to head to the door, I saw her standing at the door of the shop. And there again is that grin that barely lifts one corner of her lips. There again is that laughter in her eyes. What a beautiful girl! This time I take the time to look at her closely. As she stood there, she gave me all the time I needed to memorize her face. I was surprised to realize how small she is. Her skin is lightly olive colored and her eyes—oh, her eyes are the lightest brown I have ever seen! They are almost gold in color, with even lighter shoots of energy sparking from the irises. Her hair is very short and soft looking, with little curls that barely brushed her eyebrows. And her lips are perfect red bows, with a dimple on each corner. It felt like I had been standing there and staring at her forever, but it was actually just seconds because she moved quickly behind the counter while talking to her coworkers in a rush of words. From the way she was rushing about I figured she must be late for work.
Now what am I going to do? I had already finished my coffee and food. I couldn’t very well just sit back down and linger for another day. Could I? Well, yes I can. I’ll just move over to the fireplace and make myself busy so I can have an excuse to sit there and admire my coffee girl.
As the day wore on, I risked looks at her as she worked behind the counter. Occasionally she would come out from behind the counter to clear tables and wipe them down. She would busily straighten the magazines and newspapers that others had left behind. Once when she was at the fireplace hearth she seemed to take more time than was really necessary to clean. I risked a quick look. She was looking right at me. I felt a blush come over me and sincerely hoped she did not see it. And, oh, she smiled at me again. Oh, that little grin. Then she turned away and went back behind the counter. I know I ought to leave and just run home. The little hum that I feel in my body is driving me crazy. I need to tend to that little hum before it grows and makes me even move uncomfortable. Nah, I will stay awhile longer and linger over her smile.

Closing Time

Before I know it I realize that I have been here all day. The sun is lowering in the sky and I have read only a few pages of my book. I even got some writing done, though I am sure I will have to revise it later. Although I have tried to stay busy my mind feels useless for anything other than admiring her and that tiny smile. All I can think about is my coffee girl. How did she become mine in my mind? I have yet to even say a word to her. She only tried to talk to me that one time yesterday. And I foolishly ignored her. I know it it’s a lame excuse, but I really do get tired of explaining that I am deaf although I am verbal. The questions annoy me, although they really should not. I get asked things like, ‘How deaf are you, really?’ and ‘How come you can talk?’ Or I get a backhanded comment such as, ‘You’re too smart to be deaf!’ What the hell does that mean, anyway? Those are comments get me riled up me off. I know they shouldn’t but they do.
The flow of customers slows as closing time nears. I saw the door open once again as a customer came in just in time before the doors could be closed for the night. I had to chuckle to myself. “Ok, this is good.”
My friend Carolyn came rushing through the door and jogged to the counter. Carolyn is always in a hurry! She is a great friend to me and I smiled just as big as you please. My coffee girl saw me smiling for the first time and she smiled too. Carolyn made her laugh about something and finally got to see what my coffee girl looks like when the bubbling laugh can finally burst forth. She is lovely when she throws her head back in laughter, which exposed the hollow of her throat at the “v” of her shirt. Oh, that is my favorite part of a woman. Well, one of them anyway.
Finally, I have an excuse to approach the counter again and be able to talk to someone. I tap Carolyn on the shoulder and she whirls around, taking me up in a big hug. Carolyn is always one to hug the breath out of you. I just laughed.
When she finally let go she signed to me Damn dude, I have been looking for you! Where have you been? You should know better than to worry me. What have you been up to?
I signed back to her, I have been here. I went for a walk yesterday and found this new coffee shop. I am surprised it took you so long to find it! This is a wonderful place and the view is lovely. The last I signed indicating the coffee girl behind the counter who was watching us talk to each other. Carolyn just smiled and winked at me, and then she winked at my coffee girl. That little stinker completely busted me! She ordered a coffee to go, and then walked over to the fireplace with me so that I could pack my backpack and prepare to head out because the shop will be closing soon.
As we left together I once again chanced a final look at the counter and my girl. This time she was smiling broadly and signed to me, I will see you again tomorrow, right? I came to a complete stop. She signs! She signs! Oh no, she knew what I had signed to Carolyn! Sheesh! This time I know my blush is showing because my face is hot! I signed with a slow nod of my left fist Yes. I then stumbled out the door with Carolyn close on my heels. When I looked through the glass doors I saw my coffee girl smiling back at me.
Carolyn tried to push me along so we can get to her car. As soon as we got inside and she got the heater going, she signed to me, What was that all about!? I nearly cracked my head on the door when you stopped like that. Oh, dude, you got a crush going! Who is she? Hello? Look at me!
I just had to laugh, she was so concerned. After I stopped laughing I signed, Sorry , I did not mean to stop like that. She just surprised me. I did not know she knew sign. Damn, she knows I am attracted her because I told you I liked the view and looked at her when I said that! Did you see her sign as we were leaving?
No, I was too busy trying not to crack my skull on the door! You know she is probably not into a guy like you and why would you want to date her anyway. She is a hearing person! Carolyn has always been protective of me. Carolyn was born deaf and had taken me under her wing when I attended classes to learn ASL after I lost my hearing. She thinks that deaf people need to stick together. And she is adamant that deaf people should date other deaf people. She feels pretty strongly that a hearing person can never really understand what we experience and that it’s a wall that cannot be surmounted no matter how sincere the hearing person is about trying to breach that wall of silence.
I am just as certain that my coffee girl can reach into me. If anyone can, it’s her. Her eyes and beautiful, delicate hands can reach me because that is what I want. Whether I am hearing or deaf, it doesn’t matter. I want those eyes looking at me and watching my hands talk to her. So I signed, I see what you are saying, but that does not mean I agree. Hearing or not, I want to know her. Dating? Where are you getting that? I just want to know her. You are deaf. I am not dating you. Why is it you assume I want to date her? And I have only been deaf for two years. Why shouldn’t I want to choose a hearing person? What you are advocating is reverse discrimination. And that’s just bullshit and you know it.
She just smiled her little know-it-all smile and signed, I know. And I know you. And I can see you are all crazy. Be careful! I tell you if she hurts your heart I am going to hurt her right back. And you don’t date me because I am your buddy. She finally put the car in gear and drove me home. After a quick bite together she went home.
That night I just laid in bed thinking about my coffee girl. Damn. I still don’t know her name! I will learn it tomorrow. Wow, this time she will be expecting me! As I started to feel my heart calm and my breaths slow into sleep, I thought about what it would be like to kiss her. Then I lay awake just imagining that. It was awhile before sleep finally took me off to dreams. I dreamed about her smile and her eyes.

Her Name--at last!

When I woke up I felt even lighter than I did yesterday morning. I just floated off to the shower and dressed without a thought other than a desire for coffee, golden eyes and a wicked grin. I am glad my hair is very, very short. No muss, no fuss. I just ran a toothbrush across my teeth, grabbed my backpack and flew out the door!
I walked so fast that my heart was racing as I turned the corner just before coming to the coffee shop. I stood still for a few moments to calm my breathing and to allow my heart to slow down. When I finally walked in I casually staked out my usual place by the fireplace, and then went to the counter to see my coffee girl.
The shop was slow for a change so I could take my time. She was standing there by the register smiling that smile and laughing with those eyes. This time I was not shy or in a hurry to get away. This time when she spoke to me she signed Good morning, Sunshine! What can I get for you? She got me flustered again in one fell swoop! I had to laugh to cover my blush, Sunshine? Where did that come from?
OK, I would like a dark roast coffee with cream and a bagel with lox and cheese, please. And I would like to know your name. She just smiled at me, told me she would bring my order to me, and then went about putting my order together. Foiled! I will know her name before I leave today.
She brought a cup of coffee for herself when she brought my order to me. I moved my stuff out of the way so she could sit. We took a few drinks from our cups without saying anything more as we looked over the rims at each other with smiling eyes.
Finally, I put down my cup and started to talk to her with my voice, but she stopped me and asked me to sign. I must have looked baffled, because she then signed, I learned ASL at school and I want to sign with you when we talk. Is that okay?
Yes, that’s fine. I can sign slower for you if you need me to do that. You really surprised me when I saw you sign as I left with Carolyn last night. How long have you been learning ASL? Please tell me your name.
I know. You should have seen the look on your face when I signed to you. You were so funny when your friend ran into you. The first day you came in here, I could not understand why you did not answer my question. Later that day I was looking at you at the same time that one of the blender pitchers broke. You were the only person who did not look up. That is when I started to figure out that you cannot hear. My name is Meg, nice to meet you. That is how your do it right? After you say your name you then say nice to meet you, right?
I was really surprised at how fast she was signing and how well she did it. I was well and truly impressed and so pleased to be talking to her—at last!
She just gave me her little grin, and wagged her index finger back and forth and signed, No, not another word till you introduce yourself properly.
Oh, excuse me. My name is Seamus, nice to meet you.
Seamus, I like that. It fits you.
Yeah, my Daddy wanted a boy. He insisted my name will be Seamus, after him. He was a stubborn man.
There she goes, making me blush again! I got so flustered that when I went to pick up my coffee mug, I hit it with my fingers and made a mess of the newspapers. My first thought was that I was glad my backpack was nowhere near the mess. Then I saw that I made a mess of her uniform too! Good going, Seamus! I mentally smacked myself on the back of my head like my daddy used to do when I would screw up.
I shot up and ran to the counter asking for paper towels or whatever they had. Then I ran back to Meg and tried to blot the mess I had made. She just sat there stunned for a few seconds then started to laugh. She just threw her head back and let go with laughter. At first, I thought she was laughing at me. But when she grabbed my hand to stop my fussing I realized she was laughing just to laugh. When she took my hand in hers I felt such a shock run through me. Electricity ran from my hand, to my heart, to stomach… then lower. I was so shocked that I quickly pulled my hand away as if I was pulling it away from a flame. I must have pulled away too quickly because she stopped laughing and quickly got up and went to back to work behind the counter as she wiped her uniform clean.
I immediately realized right that I over-reacted and made a point to calm down. I continued to clean my spill and got two more mugs of coffee in hopes that Meg would come back. After I finished my mug and realized Meg had not come back, I finally got the message. Fall for the girl. Hurt the girl. Lose the girl. Good going! I just shook my head, grabbed my stuff and left.
The walk home this time was slow and melancholy. The air was warm enough that I could not see my breath this time. The snow had melted on the sidewalk. It seemed that nature around me had been reflecting my emotions the last few days. The first day I walked out of my house, I just wanted to walk until I was no longer alive. The second day, I felt this wonderful lift in my soul. And today I felt joy for the first time in a very long time. In my walk home today, I felt no joy or hope anymore. How could I have taken the smile from her lips and her eyes in just one thoughtless moment? How can I fix this? Will she even let me try?

Finally Mine

I did not go back to the shop for a few days; thinking that she would not want me there. But, on Saturday morning, I could not stay away anymore. I had not been able to concentrate on my writing. I could not read more than a few sentences in a book without reading them over again. I could not sleep or even eat. I was just so wrecked in my heart and mind that I could cause her to feel such hurt. So when I woke up Saturday morning I felt an urge to move. To go! To act! To do! I showered and grabbed my coat. I did not bother with my backpack. I would not need it.
I practically jogged to the coffee shop. When I turned the corner I did not pause to catch my breath. I did not pause to calm my heart. I just kept moving. When I came through the door of the shop I moved swiftly and with purpose. I did not want coffee or a bagel with lox and cheese. I wanted Meg. I wanted my coffee girl.
She turned toward the door when I came through and just looked at me. No smile, no little grin, no laughing eyes. I started signing before she could turn away, I am sorry. I did not mean to react that way. I don’t know what has happened to me, but I want what I feel to continue. This feeling inside me is what I need to feel alive. When you grin at me like you do and when you laugh with your eyes like you do, I want to be alive with you. I know I am talking crazy, but sometimes crazy is good. And damn it! This crazy is great! I can’t eat, sleep, read, or even just be without thinking about you. I feel so alive! Please…”
There was nothing more I could say. I said it all and then some. When I finally paused to see what she would say or do, I realized she had that little grin on her lips again. Her eyes had that laugh again. She came around the counter and walked right up to me. Without a care in the world, she put her hands on my face and pulled me toward her and kissed me right there for all and sundry to see. Right there in the coffee shop. My coffee girl.


Coffee Shop, Deaf, Love Story

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author avatar Jc Wordsmith
A lover and builder of words who lives each day to create interesting and entertaining articles and stories for readers with discerning tastes.

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author avatar vpaulose
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Interesting girl.

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