Can’t go for a coffee, so we plump for standing awkwardly on the footpath. Almost in the brambles we are so mindful to leave room for the joggers and cyclists to safely pass.
It is a relief to be officially allowed to meet face to face. At a safe distance of course. Arranging to ‘accidentally’ bump into each other on our permitted daily walk messed with my compliant brain.
Anyway, how are you?
Oh, you know, coping, getting by.
Our trite conversation stutters back and forth. Shuffling our feet, eyes sliding sideways, a pair of Cold War agents could scarcely be more guarded. We speak in breathless bursts, even pausing mid sentence to allow an innocent dog-walker to move safely out of earshot.
You say we must go for a coffee, soon as we can. I know what you mean. Sitting facing you, talking so fast our words tumble over each other. A point punctuated with a finger stab on the table. A witty comment that dissolves my tension headache in a second. You still looking gorgeous even leaning over the table helplessly. Me red-faced and gasping for air, a ribbon of hair caught in my streaming eyes. Who’s laughing now?
We stand here on the footpath. Jittery, like teenaged lovers afraid to be seen together. Desperate to say something meaningful to make this precious meeting worthwhile.
Oh yes. A coffee is so much more than just coffee.
Denise D'Souza lives in Surrey in the UK. She draws inspiration for her fiction writing from travels with her husband, people-watching and browsing vintage markets. She has worked in publishing and her writing ranges from factual articles to poetry and fiction.