My coffee is talking to me. Its telling me to run. This faceless man across from me. Where did I meet him, a dating app, a friends friend. My recollection has dissipated into my coffee. It is telling me to run. I should run. He does have a face. I am just here being polite. I owe him nothing.
My coffee-its telling me to run. Not obviously. Not out loud. Its just the way I am focussed on finishing it that says-run. I wonder what would happen if I sprang up, jumped over the table, leapt over him and legged it.
He might not notice. He keeps talking. I stare into the murky brown. There is no point disputing it. He is wearing a jumper the same colour as a milky coffee. Run. There is no choice. Run. He keeps talking. He doesn’t even seem aware I am not interested. For a moment I think I will start to pull faces to see if he notices. Is he absorbed in himself? Is he talking because he is nervous?
I see the waitress look at me. She knows. I feel her sympathy oozing out towards me. It’s her job and as soon as I finish this coffee, she will have to offer me a second. I know it, she knows it. She looks distraught. He has barely noticed there is someone else in the room. He just keeps talking about himself. I’m sure he’s wonderful but I am not listening. At least not to him.
I am listening to my coffee and it is saying, ‘Run’.
I look at my bag. I know I should walk. It would be polite to walk. It will be odd to run. I can feel myself smiling. I have only 30 seconds left on this coffee, otherwise it’s a second one. I can’t do a second one. The waitress looks at me. She is near the door. She knows. She has seen it all before. I have to run. I feel the words form in my head. My legs. My legs are thinking the deed. I want to run. My coffee says run. He is still talking. I can’t even remember what he is saying.
I grab my bag. Fling a fiver on the table. And I literally-run. I see the waitress ahead of me, our eyes lock as she flings open the door. I run. I fling off my heels. I keep running. And it feels good.