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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Monday 23 October 2006

One of the last of my romantic pieces that's part of a larger work.

Still Untitled

by Susan Abraham

They sat together, tight-lipped and silent in a little Mexican cafe on Cromwell road.

They had often visited the tiny coffee bar as a couple. The Spanish girls who worked the weekends knew them well and teased the pair of them, with a slight playfulness. Remarks on how rosy she was looking or the usual tease in case he had changed his mind about sugar in his coffee, were not uncommon.

Of course, he always had his mocha topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate rice.

He was strict about his cafe indulgences in that way; she on the other hand, just didn't care.
"A regular Joe" they'd called her. A frothy latte with lots of sprinkly sugar and in a nice medium size ("to have here") if you didn't mind was all she'd asked.

The steamy brew always arrived with its warm welcome, in a comforting cup that was fat and round like Jupiter and carried its signature picture of a robust Mexican hat.

You could see nothing under the hat except for a huge twirly moustache so that the coffee-drinker was forced to assume that there would be a red face lurking somewhere under the big moon of weaved straw.

The moustache appeared to cradle the hat like waves gently rocking a boat.

She thought longingly, of how her magnificent cup could have easily held three slices of a good cherry cake. Still, food was the last thing on her mind right now.

They had quarrelled. And this was the morning after their quarrel.

The Spanish girls were careful to avert their eyes, their beautiful faces cast downwards.

Perhaps they had quarrelled long enough. She couldn't tell. She had become a little absent-minded lately about what the future held or even what was more apparent, about her recent habit of misplacing and forgetting things.

Like their valuable tickets to the Coldplay concert yesterday and for the first time, deluded by her "tiresome weaknesses" as he called them, he had shouted at her in front of everyone at the Wembley arena.

She had stalked off, her face a flaming red, but knowing very well that what he had alleged was true. She had playacted 'the absent-minded professor' about many things lately; her passport to a holiday in Spain, misplaced in another bag just as they were about to board the plane and more recently, paying for something twice over.

Once she had whipped out her Boots discount card and presented it together with a tiny shampoo at the sales counter, only to be asked again, with some awkwardness, for her cash. The last time she bought stamps, she had walked away without paying and had to be called back.

And she had even forgotten that it was her turn in the queue to pay for a train ticket. She came to her senses, after being gently cajoled on the shoulder by an amused stranger.

Of course, it was all too embarassing for words.

Perhaps it was just a phase. Perhaps she was getting a little old, no... Perhaps she needed to see a doctor. Last night, for the first time, they had slept in different rooms.

Now he turned his gaze away from her. She had to learn her lesson, he felt and made it his ambition to sulk the whole morning. There was no choice for it. He had spoilt her enough and this nasty habit had worsened. Now, he would have to play the cold fish and the next time, perhaps, she would remember what he considered to be, the important things of life a little better.

Of course, he wasn't going to leave her. Women! The first shouting match and they think you're made of such flimsy skin, you're going to pack your bags and dash off into the night air.

And he knew exactly how her mind worked or rather, what he thought wryly, was still left of it.

Determined to forget the pain of last night, she pretended not to notice and made a light-hearted banter about his good looks. He appeared not to hear and looked the other way, suddenly staring hard at an old walled picture of Christ with the Sacred Heart. She sighed.

He could be moody for weeks if she let this go.

She would have to come to some intelligent shortcut in the next few minutes on how to revive her hard-earned romance. Before it did a turnaround, that is and fled into the darkness where the coldness and the silence were great friends.

She couldn't lose him after everything and bent her head quickly in deep thought.

The unsuspecting aroma of a breakfast coffee that was still so sweet on the senses, lingered as if to offer her support.She tried a little sip with relish but it was all she could do not to break down in another flood of tears....

Picture credit goes to: Cat-Tea Clips