The Hopeless Meet-Cute

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Entering the café, it’s hard not to notice every inch of wall space is taken up with books and inspiring quotes by famous authors. Old musty lounge chairs are scattered throughout, offering reading nooks for the midweek coffee and tea drinkers. New to the midweek cafe culture club, I can’t help but wonder “what do these people do for a living and how do I sign up?!”

I find a large communal table to sit at. Yes, position myself in the centre of everything, prime position, high observation possibility and line of sight to outside. My coffee arrives as I open my laptop and start my session.  While I’m here to do some writing I need to work on my poor excuse of a love life. Talking to guys, meeting guys, well, currently it’s more like looking at guys without going red. Two birds, one stone and all that….

Two guys walk in and look for seats, YES! They have to join the communal table. There isn’t enough space for the two of them so they sit right on the corner and one of them pulls up a stool. Men on stools just don’t go in my book—high knees and legs spread, like a giraffe trying to sit at a pre-schooler table. Not that appealing, which helps build up the courage to say something.

“Do you guys want me to move over so you can have a proper seat?”

“Nah it’s all good, we’re right here”.

Excellent, two cute boys in front of my face. And I spoke to them offering kindness. Points? Who’s keeping points?!

They were both Kiwis. One was obviously visiting the other who now lived here in Bondi. At first their conversation was really awkward, there was so much mindless chit chat that I thought they might have been on a date. “Great book store bro, heaps of books” (no shit). Then they started talking about home, visiting kiwi (Kiwi one) said he wished he could have met Kiwi two’s girlfriend (there goes one possibility, down to a 50/50 chance). There were lots of “yeah bro” “sick bro” and “nah bro”’’s then one started sharing photos from last night which must have been a stinger as they couldn’t remember them being taken. It sort of explained why they were a little weird—their brains weren’t working.

“Eat the bacon man, eat the bacon! Can’t let good bacon go to waste” Kiwi one goads.

“Nah bro, you have it. I’m not going to eat it.”

As they sucked the remnants out of their iced-drinks Kiwi one pats two on the back “Happy Birthday bro! Let’s get out of here”. As they get up I realise Kiwi two is pretty gangly, and a bit younger than me. But Kiwi one is cute!

In that nasily accent that many Kiwis have, one says, “Sorry, I hope we weren’t too loud”.

“Oh, no you guys were fine”. I make a smile but it’s one of those ones you don’t know if it just looks like you are pursing your lips or an actual smile is coming out. Crap! I should have said ‘Happy Birthday!’ Although the birthday boy was the one with the girlfriend. Shit, visiting Kiwi was cute. I watched them walk out the door, Kiwi one yelling out to staff to “have a good one aye” and thanking them for the great meal. What a guy! Polite, friendly, genuine. Could I have said something? Should I have interrupted when it was awkward? Would that have been more awkward? It’s not worth saying anything, they aren’t available so what’s the point. But maybe visiting Kiwi is my soulmate and how amazing would that story at our wedding be for how we met? That escalated quickly.

Ok. Round two. Cute guy sits at end of communal table with a latte and macbook. It makes me look sadly at my overgrown ASUS computer and realise why the girl in front of me seems to be so close, no it’s the laptop screen that is invading her side of the table as it’s so old! I digress. Ignoring the fact that that between me and Mr Mac there is a really pretty blonde, also on her macbook, I steal a quick look over at him. Maroon shirt, brown hair, a little stubble, not a beard, but not an “I’m trying to grow a beard but it’s just not happening” thing either.

It’s been a while since I first entered the café. Being new to unemployment and writing life I haven’t quite mastered the art of confidently sitting in one place having bought one coffee and using Wi-Fi all day. Time to repurchase. I’m feeling pretty good today in my walking gear, maybe It’d be good to get up, show Mr Mac my legs (people tell me I’ve got great legs, who am I to disagree). I’ve got my fierce tights on that are grey, black and white. I emulate a confident woman and stroll up to the counter and order another coffee. Flex the legs as I wait for my change. Stomach in, butt firm. As I get back to the table, I lean down to put my purse back into my backpack. Oh no, how old am I? A backpack? Don’t let him see it. Keep your arm low and he’ll never notice it. Getting back up, as my fingers grip the table, I realise they are kind of blue. Yeah, it’s actually really cold in here. Then I realise I’ve got no padding in my (ultra-confident) sports bra and the girls are high beaming. Oh no! Or, is that possibly a good thing? Shit did he see me look at them? Oh god, please no. Of course blondie over there is smart enough to be wearing a frilly girly top keeping these things up to the imagination. Oh my god, am I now looking at her girls now? Did Mr Mac see that?!

Shake it off. Back to what I was doing. Reading Reading Reading. Look up, boom! He looked at me! I smiled, and got scared and put my head back down. The café is buzzing with action, two women discussing the theory of life, a man reading the paper and doing a cross word puzzle, one girl who I am sure has picked up every book in the place and read the back cover. People are walking in and out and I realise this really personal stuff I am working on is right there for people to see. Zoom out to decrease to 60%. Lucky my eye sight is perfect (insert ‘ok’ emoji symbol).

“Hey man” says a tall hipster guy in standard hipster uniform – white t-shirt, denim and a skateboard. Man handshakes all around between Mr Mac and the new guy. Turns out Mr Mac is a ghost writer for some really boring domestic product. A writer! Kindred spirits! They will say that at our … not that spiral again. They talk for a bit and Mr Mac seems really cool. Farewell man shakes occur and Mr Mac is back to his ghost writing. What do I do?!

Some latino chick has sat down reading and takes a phone call. As I go to share a glare with her I realise we are not in a library and the main purpose of the café is for conversation not laptop wielding free loaders like me. “I need to speak to you, I am so lost today, I need you” BLA. Why are latinos always so passionate and firey? It all gets a bit yuck and space invading so Mr Mac starts to pack his things up. He seems to slowly be putting things in his bag (a backpack! How old is he?! Kindred spirits!) Could he be stalling? Maybe he is building up the courage to speak to me? Maybe to blondie? All the while I am building the courage to speak to him. Will someone give us some spinach or que wizard of oz or something!  Mr Mac passes me, I freeze (yes the girls too) and he flops his backpack on his shoulder and walks out. 

I’ve lost my chance. I look down then look at the door like a puppy waiting for his owner to return, Mr Mac turns around and we lock eyes. Is he coming back in the cafe?

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