Prompt: The sound of silence.
The cafe is quiet, empty in the early hours of the morning. A barista sits on her phone, scrolling through her Facebook feed, lightly tapping a nail on the counter. I lean back for a moment, stretching, wincing at the pops from my joints. That’s probably not a good sound.
I lean back forward, hunching over the small notebook filled with scrawled ideas and plot points, planning out my next story. It’s a slow process, planning a sequel, making sure all the details come together, that I don’t forget anything the characters experienced thus far. I sigh, flipping back through the notes, looking for a way to connect previous characters to the upcoming adventure.
The door opens, cold air rushing in, flipping pages in my notebook. I shut my notebook and smile at Nate as he ducks through the door, shaking the rain off his coat.
“Nice day, eh?”
He flashes me a smile, that mischevious grin he has when there’s a story to be told. I raise an eyebrow.
“Oh? What happened?”
Nate hangs his coat off the back of his chair before sitting down, running a hand through his hair and grinning.
“Nothing too insane. Do you remember Crystal?”
“Crystal from high school Crystal?”
“Yeah, so I’m waiting in line at Costco and someone taps me on the shoulder. I turn around and BAM. Crystal. I didn’t recognize her at first, but oh my god did she get old.”
“Nate, we all got old. She recognized you?”
“Yeah right away. Do I look old?”
I shrug a shoulder. “Uhhhhh…”
“Har har. Thanks for that. Just the confidence boost I needed. So we’re talking in line and she’s telling me all this crazy shit that’s happened in her life. Did you know she spent five years in France? She’s got kids now, Rachel. KIDS.”
“Most people our age have kids, Nate.”
“Yeah, but like why?”
“We’re genetically wired to want progeny?”
“Oh. That makes sense.”
He’s quiet for a moment like this just occurred to him.
“Anyway, so she spent all this time France, met her husband there, had kids there, and they just moved back like three years ago. Apparently, her husband just got a job at the university so they’re like back here for good now. She wants to have us over for dinner.”
“Ugh, do we have to? I didn’t even know her in high school.”
“You guys were in math together for like all four years.”
“Yeah, math where I was busy learning, not making friends with my peers.”
“I forgot you like tried in high school.”
I roll my eyes at him. “Are you going to get a coffee?”
He frowns at me, chair screeching across the tiled floor as he stands, walking up to the counter. The barista puts her phone down, smiling.
“Good morning! What can I make for you?”
“May I get a medium coffee?”
“Would you like room for cream?”
I turn back to my writing as they chat, glad for the company but missing the silence all the same. Things are simpler in the silence.