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Skinny Mocha Lattes

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I tried not to stare at him as he walked through the doors of the Starbucks coffee shop, but I couldn’t help it. I wasn’t really staring at him though, I was staring at the girl standing next to him.
Or I was simply evaluating them, together, analyzing them as if they were my specimen and I was a scientist.
I hated how happy they both looked, fingers interlocked, beaming from ear to ear as though their world was perfect.
I tried to remember if Kyle had ever been that happy when he was with me. Probably not.
Kyle and the girl walked up to the counter to order their drinks, and I pretended to be extremely interested in the half finished ice coffee in front of me. I had been waiting to meet up with Rob, who was supposed to make me happy like the way Kyle was making that girl happy, but he had texted me a few minutes after I had arrived to tell me he was busy, and wouldn’t be able to make it.
That was what happened when you were in a relationship with someone. They stopped meeting you for coffee because they knew you’d forgive them later for not showing up. Later, they would convince you that coffee wasn’t a big deal, and they’d promise to make more of an effort next time, and right about when you’re ready to finally walk away, they’ll surprise you with a romantic dinner or a Nicholas Sparks movie, and then you fall for them all over again. Or at least that’s how it was with Rob, except neither of us were really in love.
The brown haired girl next to Kyle seemed sweet. Her hair was in a messy bun, and she was wearing long, dangly earrings, that probably matched the color of her eyes, or something as equally corny.
She was short though, close to six inches below his forehead, if I had to estimate. Shorter than me, but guys like short girls. It meant even when she wore heels, he’d still be taller than her, and guys like feeling like the taller ones in relationships.
I heard her order, her voice breaking the silence of the café.
“One skinny mocha latte please.”
“And a tall caramel macchiato.”
The cashier followed through with the transactions, and the girl didn’t say anything else. I always made fun of his Starbucks order, because he only drank espressos, and they all sounded like such girly drinks. He had always laughed along with me, but I suppose he likes how his new girlfriend doesn’t mock his coffee choices.
Kyle paid for both the drinks. The girl walked closer to me now, to get some napkins. I looked at her legs as she passed by, the question forming in my mind. “Was she skinnier than me?”
I glanced at my thighs, hidden beneath the table, but still large enough to be seen easily, and then looked back at the girl. She won. Her legs were thin, like a Barbie doll’s. Well, not that thin, just thinner than mine.
Even her drink order was skinny. A skinny mocha latte? What did that even mean? Were fat people supposed to order fat lattes or something?
I stared at the coffee in front of me a little longer, unsure of whether to go throw it out and risk running into Kyle, or just sit here alone sipping it, at the risk of looking like a total loser if he walked by.
I didn’t have a chance to make a decision though, because at that exact moment, Kyle spotted me, and waved enthusiastically.
“Samantha!” he yelled, moving his arms like he was unintentionally impersonating an air traffic controller.
“Hey,” I said quietly, picking up my drink and bag, preparing to run towards the door when the opportunity presented itself.
“How have you been?” he asked, eyeing the coffee in my hand. His tone is sincere, almost grave, as though he truly wants to know how I’ve been.
In the past, I would’ve told him all my problems, and he would have found a way to make them seem not so bad. But we can’t go back to that place; he’s clearly moved on. And, in a way, I guess I have too.
I just shrug my shoulders in response to his question. “Everything’s good, but it’s been better.”
He looks disappointed that he had been replaced as my chief confident.
“I saw your mom in the store the other day, she told me about the divorce and your…” he trails off, and I guess my fake smile had vanished momentarily, causing his falter.
“I’m fine, really,” I reply, returning a look of forced merriment to my face.
He relaxes a little, and opens his mouth to say something, then stops.
I wonder if he’s thinking about what we used to have. I remember running into his arms and crying, and he’d stroke my hair and make me laugh until I forgot my problems. But, he’s moved on, I remind myself.
“If you ever need anything, call me, okay?”
Our eyes lock for a second, and my heartbeat speeds up instinctively.
“Kyle!”
A foreign voice interrupts our gazing, and I realize it’s his new girlfriend beckoning him over to their table. Suddenly, everything’s back to how it was before.
“Gotta run,” he said, gesturing toward his new girl. “Emily has thing she’s gonna be late for, maybe we can catch up later.”
I mumble a good bye, but they’re gone.
Emily, I muse, evaluating the name in my head.
Then, suddenly, I don’t care anymore. It was like a sigh of relief washing over me, like my heart had finally just given up on the chase. One broken eye contact, and the bad memories had flooded back. The fights, the eating disorder, the lies, the tears.
I smiled as I walked out of the café, because I was finally over the jerk I fell in love with. As I stepped into my car, I checked my phone, and grinned even more broadly when I saw a text from Rob inviting me over.
I put the keys into the ignition, and decided it was time to love again.




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