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The familiar coffee house stood tall in front of me. All 149 red bricks of the walk way, that I counted everyday, were in perfect order. It had become an obsession of mine in the two years of my coming here, always making sure I had counted right, always checking that nothing had been misplaced. 149 red-brown bricks lined the walkway, everyday, never changing. It seemed like the only thing in my life that stayed the same.
As I walked into the coffee shop, the entire staff waved at me with sad smiles on their faces. It was always the same staff, and they all knew my story. If there was someone new, their first job was to bring me my normal and listen to my story, so they knew why I was at the coffee shop at the exact same time every single day, and why I would probably never stop coming. And that was the case today.
“They told me to bring this to you,” said the girl, glancing back at the rest of the staff. They all nodded to her in approval.
“Thank you,” I said looking up at the girl. She was very pretty, tall with curly brown hair and very green eyes. She sat down across from me.
“You waiting for someone?” there was caution in her voice, but I could tell she was curious.
“You could say that,” I laughed.
“You wanna tell me about it?” it was a question, but it wasn’t meant how she asked it. The meaning behind it was, “they told me you have a story to tell.”
“You should probably know.” I sighed and sat up straighter in my chair. She copied my movements, “two years ago I sat in this same spot at this same time, and someone sat where you were sitting also.”
I had gotten good at telling this story and it never took long for a crowd to form around me. Everyone in the shop pulled their chairs up to listen. Even the staff, who had heard this story many times, gathered around.
“His name was Nick.”
“Was he your boyfriend?” asked a little girl asked. Her mother shooshed her, but I just laughed and told her it was perfectly ok.
“Kind of,” I replied.
“Where you in love?” asked a teenage girl.
“Oh Madly.” I smiled and the teenage girl sighed, “I was 24 at the time, and so was he. We weren’t rich, but we were happy. We went to the college around the corner from here. It was a couple of months after we both graduated and he had gotten a great job opportunity in England.
“’It will be wonderful. We will be rich and have everything we have ever dreamed of,’ he yelled. I just laughed at him, and kissed him on the cheek telling him I already had everything I ever wanted. ‘Then we’ll have more’ he said smiling, ‘just imagine it! A large house with a yard and a dog. At least 6 cars and maybe even a couple of kids,’ as he said this, he winked.”
“ooooo,” said someone from the back of the group. I laughed.
“that’s exactly what I thought. Well he was leaving the next day, so we wanted to make the most of what time we had left. We stayed up all night, laughing, and just having fun. We ended up here somehow at nine the next night.”
“they were the happiest couple I had ever seen,” said June, the older waitress and the one who had been working at the coffee shop the longest. She had been there the night I had said goodbye, and we had formed a great relationship during the two years.
I laughed and continued my story, “ He was so excited he went around telling everyone in the coffee shop that he was going to have the best life ever.”
“and the best wife,” said June, smiling.
“yes and the best wife,” a tear rolled down my cheek, “it was finally time for him to leave and I was crying. We walked out to the curb and waited for his taxi to get here. He gently kissed each of my tears away, and as his taxi pulled up he whispered, ‘I’ll be back, I promise. Any day, sooner than you know.’ He took my hand and put something cold in it. Then kissed me and whispered, ‘I love you,’ then he yelled, ‘DID YOU HEAR THAT? I LOVE NATALY GRACESON!’ I laughed and told him I loved him too. I was still crying. He wiped the tears away one last time and then got in the car and drove away.”
“What did he put in your hand?” asked the little girl.
I pulled out my necklace. It was half a heart that said LO on it, “it is my guess that he has the other half.” I said with another tear running down my face. I looked around the room and saw that I had at least half of the customers crying also.
“It’s been two years, but I’ve never given up hope that maybe one day, he will come walking through those doors back to me.”
“oh my god, that’s probably the saddest story I’ve ever heard.” Said the teenager.
“But there is some good news.” Said June.
“Oh yes,” I said smiling, “I’m engaged!”
“To Nick?” asked a woman, who looked to be a little older than me.
“Oh no,” I shook my head, “his name is Jace.”
“But you love Nick.” Said the little girl.
“Oh yes, but I haven’t seen him in two years, even though I wait for him, I know I have to move on. What if he never comes back?” I asked her. She got a sad look on her face.
“But he promised.” Said the teenager. She looked to be about 14.
“Something you will learn quickly,” I said looking her in the eye, “promises are broken, even if you don’t want them to be.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, and then actually got up in hugged me. In the two years that I had been at this coffee shop I had never gotten a single hug, but after this one girl walked up and gave me one everyone was upon me. Telling me how sorry they were for me, and how they hoped I was happy with Jace.
“What no hug for me?” asked a familiar voice.