Ch 2 ~ Visceral
Emily had a little talent that she rarely kept to herself, unless she was in a particularly shy mood. Usually, she was. God…sometimes thoughts just didn’t come to her. At least sometimes not in a way that made any kind of sense (at least to outside people) so why would she give voice to the clutter that frequented her brain? Exactly, she said to no one in particular but herself. She laughed. In a small way. Nearly imperceptibly, which was the point exactly. Because it was more than just a touch ironic, that thought back there. A couple of sentences back…she nodded her head back as if to point to the precise sentence that floated like a cobweb somewhere in the back of her mind. The one that mentioned talking to “…no one in particular but herself.” Yea, that one. Ironic because most of the people in this quiet-smallish still-but-caught-in-a-perpetual-cycle-of-terrible twos-farmtown of Glenwood thought of Emily Wentwood as precisely that. (See what I mean? What a jumbled thought that was.) No one in particular. Just a transparent film of a person with a knack for blending into the background.
Still. Even that wasn’t Emily’s particular talent.
“Welllllllll!” a voice boomed over the cluster of tables and chairs and half eaten breaksfasts with jellies and ketchup slopped carelessly over the plates and onto the surface.
She poked a long strand of mousy brown hair out of her eyelashes and turned her head around to stare over her shoulder. Her eyes pinched, stressing the skin across the bridge of her nose and mounding it into bundled creases of fuzzy curiousity, until at last, her vision focused.
She could see through the window, not far away…not far at all…a flock of birds manuveured the air in perfect unison.
He glanced up from his laptop. His mousy blondish-reddish hair blurred the air, his smile tentatively entered into her sight. She flinched in some kind of recognition that she didn’t fully know, couldn’t at all ignore, wouldn’t possibly explore at this moment because that bellow from somewhere further down, striding down the aisle, jerked her head away until her vision landed squarely on the chaos that seemed to be unleashing itself at every table before her.
People eat like such animals sometimes, Emily thought before barely having time to register all of the napkins lifting off of the tables like flat, spineless flying structures that were propelled into the air by his wildly exaggerated movement. Nevermind the mounds of food crumbs that graffitti’d the floor.
The patrons in this diner bullied food. He bullied air, he did.
Here thoughts flew back to the general vacinity of the laptop. Whoosh.
Who is he? she ventured to ask with no time at all to discover an answer.
A voice grumbled from a standing position somewhere near the edge of Emily’s booth. “Oh brother,” Pat said. She had a habit of saying that. She had a habit of thinking she knew everything that was about to unfold. But see…that’s the thing. Pat didn’t have that particular talent. Pat was just one of those who thought she had everyone’s number because she people-watched for a living.
“More coffee, Em?”
Emily rolled her gaze back to Pat, who stood as all waitresses do on the outer edge of the booth and who looked down at Emily with a smirk on her face. Not all waitresses did that, but at least Pat’s smirk was friendly. Yet, a smirk just the same. Knowitall, she thought but Emily really knew that Pat was okay. She was, in fact, her closest friend in a town that really regarded Emily (and possibly to some extent Pat, for all she knew) as inconsequential at best. Pat might exercise snap judgements far too frequently, but the one constant she displayed was a genuine caring for Emily. And that was very mutual. So, Pat’s tendency to think she knew everything at all times simply by virture of the fact that she waitressed at the Glenwood Cafe was annoying, yes, but, really quite minor if you could look past it. Emily could. It was always nice to have a friend. Besides. Emily knew Pat had a heart of gold and that in two years that same heart would constrict so massively as to snuff the life of all of that self-satisfied knowledge right out of her. For good.
Emily knew this as nearly unavoidable fact. Regrettably so. Because that was Emily’s particular talent that she rarely kept to herself, unless she was feeling particularly shy (which was usually the case) or particularly fearful (which was definitely true in Pat’s case).
Emily could see the future.
“Sure…sure, Pat. Thanks. Love some more.”
She shoved the thought of two years down the road far away into the recesses of her mind and focused instead on the steady stream of coffee arching out of the carafe into her cup. Not one dropped spilled. Damn, Pat was good. As steady as they come. Who would guess what was coming at her. Emily only hoped she was wrong on this one; she only hoped that her inner eye was as blind as her external vision appeared to be. But she had little time to dwell on all of this because before she knew it, he had bullied the air completely out of the room and was standing completely in focus next to Pat, wearing a wiseguy smile to beat all heck. Pat raised an eyebrow which had the odd effect of turning down the corners of her mouth in a rather exaggerated, comical way. Emily couldn’t help but snort softly.
“Wellllllllllllllll! HI THERE! Mind if I join you!” The man doesn’t ask questions. For the most part, he punishes the air.
Emily shook her head in mild amusement. I mean what does one say to such an exhibit of a person? Especially after Pat turned on her slammed heel like an exclamation point punctuating the close of her participation in this conversation.
“WHAT?! What did I say!”
Emily held her hand out in surrender and gestured for him to sit. Because, after all, she knew that he would whether she wanted him to or not.
“The question might be,” she leaned in and mumbled quietly in the hopes of stifling the stares he was generating, “what haven’t you said.”
Then, for some reason – one that even she didn’t yet know – she craned her chin to her shoulder.
And in that moment, their eyes caught, wordlessly from laptop to booth, underneathe tassles of mousy hair, for the second time that day.
NaNoWriMo(s) – total word count this chapter: 1092; total word count todate (not including this notation): 1,635