The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

The Student News Site of Enloe Magnet High School

Enloe Eagle's Eye

A Coffee Shop: Pt. 2


A Coffee Shop, 2023

He spends most mornings with me, just the two of us, alone except for the jazz that plays through the store and the occasional customer. Sometimes, he doesn’t even buy a coffee; he just comes in and sits down, only in his tanktop. I still don’t know his name, but that’s no surprise, considering we never talk aside from a brief greeting. I try to imagine what it is, but nothing seems to fit him, nothing does him justice. 

Other customers come and go, but he stays. Sometimes, he watches me, not in a leering way, but with the curious gaze of a child. Whenever I look up, and our eyes meet, he turns away. I can’t figure him out, no matter how hard I try. 

There’s a flush in his skin now, rosy cheeks replacing the chalk-colored skin I first noticed. That twinkle in his eye is there most of the time, no longer the dull stare he had when I met him. I always smile at him, and now, he returns it more often than not. 

“Are you sure you don’t need a jacket?” I ask as I do every morning as he gets up to leave. He always comes in when I open at 5:30 and goes as the sun starts to rise around 7:20. 

“No,” he says, though his deep voice is less raspy than before. He walks out, the bell above the door chiming to signal his departure. I feel myself deflate. The rest of the day is a blur, going by without much notice, as it always does when he isn’t there. 

I used to dread getting up in the morning. I dreaded getting out of bed at all. However, now I can’t wait for the alarm clock to ring; it means that work is coming, and with it, so is he

It’s another morning like all the others, but he hasn’t left yet, though the sun is starting to peek out above the city skyline. I hurry through the coffee I’m making for a customer: blonde roast, hot, large, two sugars, and three creamers. I hand them the drink, not noticing if they say anything to me before they wander out the door. All I can think about is him. His eyes are some shade between green and brown, staring at me with unbreaking interest.

“How are you today?” I ask him, turning away from his gaze and busying myself with cleaning the marbled counter. Normally, I don’t say anything, merely enjoying his presence, but something in me says to talk to him. When I ask, he seems taken aback, and for a moment I fear I’ve overstepped. I fear that he’ll get mad at me for asking and leave. Yet the surprise fades into that usual curious look. 

“Fine…and you?” Is his only response, but I smile. This is the first time he has said more than one word to me. 

“Ah, I’m fine too…I guess I can’t complain,” I say with an awkward laugh. I get the feeling that neither of us is telling the truth. I know I’m not, and the dull look in his eyes that I still see on occasion tells me he isn’t either.

He doesn’t respond and continues staring at me curiously. I look back into his eyes but look away after only a few seconds. His stare is intense but warm, and it feels like he wants to reach out and grasp my hand. My face feels warm and flushed, and I realize someone else is waiting for me at the register. Quickly, I dash away and take their order, but to my dismay, he leaves while I ring up their drink. I shout goodbye and silently wish for him to come back. It could be my imagination, but his bare shoulders seem more flushed than before.

Two days pass, and I don’t see him. Worry builds inside of me. What if I did something to offend him? What if something happened to him? What if he got hurt? I’m too distracted to work properly, with shaking hands that can’t seem to make a single drink and growing nausea that makes my head spin. My manager, my only friend at work, sends me home, giving me tomorrow off. 

I sit on my bed, suffocated in my one-room apartment, staring out the tiny window that barely allows a sliver of sunlight into my room and the dank wall it faces outside. It’s been raining since I left work, and I walk around in a daze, making myself a measly bowl of cereal for lunch. I hear a commotion outside and wander over to the tiny, lonesome window. Looking down into the alleyway outside, I see a man. 

A man in a tank top. A man being kicked and beaten by a group of other men. Panic rises in me, and before I know what I’m doing, I run out the door and down the rickety staircase, taking the steps three at a time. Slamming through the door, I end up in the alleyway. The three men, dressed in all black, look at me, and the phone gripped tightly in my hand. The men turn from me and face the man crumpled on the ground.

“You got one week to get me the money. After that, no more excuses,” whispers the tallest of the three in a voice that sends chills down my spine. I want to call 911, but I’m frozen in place, and the men dash off before I get the chance to get a good look at their masked faces. 

He sits there, bruised and bloodied, and my heart shatters at the sight. I can’t bring myself to say anything and instead walk towards him, extending a hand. He takes it, shaking, and his green-brown eyes meet mine. We stare at each other for a moment. 

“Come inside, it’s cold out here,” I whisper.

He only nods.

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About the Contributor
Audrey Weaver
Audrey Weaver, Creative Writing Editor
(They/them) Audrey is a senior and returning for their second year in newspaper. They enjoy writing, cooking, and listening to music. In their free time Audrey lives in the kitchen, cooking for their Mom and them.
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