Story #68

I woke up that friday of a warm july wearing a newborn sense of heaviness.
I laid on my back in the darkness for a couple of minutes eyes open, trying to chase away the sleep.
With an effort I made my way to the kitchen and made coffee.
My brain seemed to tighten, I would not dare think, or else everything would have fallen.
Off to the bathroom, good kids brush their teeth, I could not avoid looking in the mirror.
− Well.. uhm − i thought. − .. happy birthday I guess −
A messy bush of short red dyed hair exchanged my look with uncertain brown eyes.

I went out, footsteps were heavy, I could hardly walk as my legs seemed to be stuffed with lead.
A cigarette, smoked slowly as I walked my way.
Wather was clear, sunny, not too hot. It was july.
Suddenly an idea, there was a good café near my school, just a few blocks away.

− Good morning, how can I help? −
A girl, might have been 25 , stood behind the counter with a gentle smile and dark blond long hair.
− Hi, uhm, one of those little tarts with cocoa pastry, white chocolate cream and raspberries and a cappuccino, thanks −
I sat behind the counter on a high and uncomfortable bar stool.
The place was almost empty.
A minute later I had that little tart on a small plate followed by the big cup with a fluffy-like cappuccino.
I watched things around me as if they were in slow motion, the girl, the cup, lights, textures.
Some seconds went by as I tried to convince myself to eat.
The girl wasn’t doing anything as there were no customers to be served. She glanced at me with curiosity.
Thirty seconds later she couldn’t resist anymore and came up in front of me, behind the wooden shelf.
− I’m sorry, but is there anything wrong? − she asked sublty grinning her forehead.
− No, not really. It’s just that today.. well, it kinda is my birthday y’know.. I’m 18 now.. − I grumbled while the words died in my throat.
− Well, happy birthday then! But waht’s wrong? I mean, you don’t seem happy − she replied.
− You know how people normally have cakes, parties, toasts and presents on their bdays? See, I won’t have anything, my parents are mad at me for something I don’t understand. All I will get is maybe a hundred kind posts on my facebook wall from people who don’t really care. And this here is my cake, sort of − I summed up pointing at the little tart.
I felt like crying, a tear was ready to roll down my cheek, but I forced it back.
She must have been quite surprised as she stood silently for a minute.
− I’m really sorry to hear this − she said in the end. − nobody should be feeling down the day of his birthday −
− I know −
I leaned my elbows and struggled with increasingly burning eyes.

Suddenly the girl stuck out from behind the counter and approached my face.
My heart skipped a beat, she stared for a second with gentle eyes examining my face, then she quickly bent her head and kissed me on the cheek, a couple of seconds more than one normally does.
− Happy birthday. I’m sorry, I hope this helps somehow − she whispered while smiling and going red at the same time.
Somewhere, a flower began to blossom and a leaf fell.
(None of this has obviously happened or will probably actually happen. There’s books and films for a reason. But the thing that is real is the glimpse of hope we all have inside.
The glimpse that is always there, no matter what.
Even if things are going bad, I, and us all, always imagine that the impossible can actually still happen, that a kiss on the cheek will come to save the day and possibly also save much more than a spoiled birthday)