And she had this habit of ordering a coffee then fidgeting with her stuff until arrived.
As though that tiny espresso was her centre of gravity.
She was bizarre in that way, right up until noon.
Of course she smoked, as her mother did.
And each one always lasted a little longer than she liked.
She kept her ashtray neat. All the ash had to stay right in the middle. It couldn't touch the empty sugar sachet she'd ripped up and pushed to the side or this god awful burning plastic smell would consume the air.
I think that's why I thought she was alright. She had her batshit crazy rituals right up until noon - keeping things where they should be and all. And I think that's how you know a girl's alright, when she won't let plastic burn because the smell annoys everyone else.
She didn't take notice of the news either. In fact, I'm sure she'd been out of the loop for a few months now. It kept her sane I reckon, almost justified her more-than-questionable habits.
I think she didn't pay attention to it because she'd decided it made her smoke more.
And she didn't applaud the idea of being as miserable as the bastard bank men her father once said she'd do well with.
I couldn't tell you all that much more about her.
In truth, I don't know her.
We stop by the same cafe each morning, I linger nearly all day, except I know she doesn't see me, she doesn't see anyone, she's too busy.
Somedays she stays an hour or so, calls her mother, is reminded to eat, she ignores most of the incessant nagging I imagine.
And other days she's fast as hell. Barely looks up from the centre of gravity.
Either way, she's mesmerising.
Girls will do that to you, they'll drive you crazy with their weird habits.
My brain wasn't feeling notably creative or alert that day. Nor was I feeling particularly strong, and the door was somewhat heavy. I couldn't tell you what made me walk in to that little place, but I'm glad I did.
Before me were a small collection of pretty swell people.
Like-minded. Big beliefs. Radical characters.
They held their own.
Their art was miraculous, and it glowed.
Their presence was strong, but oh so gentle.
They were the kind of people you put your phone away for.
As I enjoyed the company (and too many coffees), a wave of complete calm washed over me. Without warning I had become overwhelmingly mindful and steady.
Believe me, it was a mighty wave.
Nothing felt like it really mattered any more.
The nonsense and empty conversations that were surely waiting for me at home began to seem so much more manageable.
Every word uttered was soft. It felt easy.
Breathe in no and breathe out yes.
I became so acutely aware of every word. Every pronunciation. Every prolonged 'S' and every missed 'T'.
Any one of them could have declared the world was on its last legs and I wouldn't have winced - I was sure no one else would make it sound so sweet.
The more they spoke and the more I listened, I began to realise they were much like many others I already knew. This didn't destroy anything, not the awe, wonder or the admiration that had grown. It shattered no illusions, I still felt safe.
It was all the more powerful. All the more spectacular.
They were average people, with above average ideas.
When my time came to leave, highly caffeinated with a mind well fed, the door was even harder to open.
Except this time, it was for all the right reasons.
You are my last little fix of this place for a while. And you have no idea how pleased I am to see you.
A hazy metaphorical grey fog hung over my head for the last two weeks of April, refusing to budge and sometimes it was difficult to summon the desire to simply get out of bed in the morning. But the mist is beginning to lift and I think the promise of, as Mama calls it, "a big adventure" has a lot to do with that.
You're the end and the beginning.
The start and the finish.
Hello and goodbye.
Goodbye to feeling trapped. And hello to a dose of free.