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Old 01-09-2006, 10:25 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 15
Default The Kids in the Cafe

When her mother opened the door, I noticed that Jessica was sitting alone in the living room knitting. She’d recently adopted this new hobby, and I joked with her saying “You know, my grandmother knits maybe you could learn something from her.” She always shrugged my jokes off, because their timing was always off or they were just clever, and no one laughs at a joke that is “just clever”.
While Jessica sped to put her knitting equipment away, I glanced at the dining room table. Letters from the previous week had piled up, and I noticed the recent acceptance letter from Depaul University.
Her mother grazed passed me and asked, “How was your day?”
“Good, and yours?”
“It was good.” She nodded her head in reassurance.
Jessica and I went up to her room and listened to a CD. After repeating the conversation I had with her mother only now it was with Jessica, we realized that our greetings had become formulaic and uninviting. Bored, we left to go on one of our usual late night coffee and pancake runs.
The café was dimly light and crowed with the typical late night crowd. A few truckers were scattered amongst the smoking section, and the non-smoking section was crowded with the average groups of loud teenagers. Although we didn’t want to be associated with those kids, we still sat near those kids, because neither of us smoked.
“God, those kids are acting like idiots.” I had no reason to hate them so much, it was just I felt like I was almost above them, like their frank manners and noisy gestures were beneath me.
Jessica added, “They just don’t know how to behave themselves.” She felt it too, this feeling of superiority, but we were both just as confused and bewildered by life as the group of kids. But because we read books, studied in school, and had “direction” to our lives, we thought we were above it.
Our conversation followed its normal routine. Starting with our usual comments on the latest book we read and only after that we’d actually begin to say something.
Her coffee mug was shaking in her hand. “Oh gosh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know you weren’t hungry. We didn’t have to come here.”
“It’s alright. I’ll just chew on this toast.” She kept glancing away at other tables or out the window, and her skin paled. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Now, she was blushing.
“Just tell me.”
She placed her head in her palm and paused. “It’s just, when I was driving to Franks to get some of my knitting materials,” she paused and I smirked about her new hobby. “Yesterday, it hit me. Everything, I mean, I’m going to college in a couple of months and then I’m gonna become an adult and I don’t even know how to take care of myself. I can’t cook or anything. I mean, my sister just bought first apartment and I have no idea how that works or anything and it’s just, it’s just…” Her hands continued to shake and her skin flushed. “And you, I love you. I’m going to college but know we’ll be fine. We’ll make it. I’m just so happy with you. Don’t get the wrong idea, I mean… I don’t want to break up with you or anything. I’m just so frightened…” She trailed on about every hesitation and anxiety that plagued her.
“You’re shaking.”
“Heh,” a processed laugh escaped her. “Some people think I’m on drugs.”
I knew she wasn’t, and I knew I loved her but I still couldn’t think of anything to say. I couldn’t even come up with some joke that was just clever enough to get her to smile. I told the only thing I knew, “It’ll be alright.”
When we were walking out, I glanced back at the group of teenagers and the sad truth was they were exactly like Jessica and I.
After we got back, we went up to her room and put on another CD. Covered in her sheets, we lay in her bed and gazed into the ceiling, and we felt like the future would never come.
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