The Cafe Was Crowded

February 25, 2009
The caf' was crowded. It wasn't the type of crowded that provided a gentle hum of background noise. It was the crowded that crammed you in between two greasy haired, pot bellied men who talked too loudly, and made rude comments to the scantily dressed waitresses. There was a glob of jam that looked like a rabbit cemented onto the counter. There was only one reason she was there.

The double doors flapped in her face and then promptly crashed into her back. She made her way past the fire belching oven, and avoided a flying saut'ed mushroom in time to slip down the rabbit hole on the other side of the grease covered room. She branched off the main tunnel, into a cavern, and he was there.

He took one look at her face and dropped the stack of towels he was holding, freeing his hands for her instead. His left held her face steady, and his right traced its way along the ugly purple bruise that was prominently displayed above her cheekbone.

'Who are you with this week?'

His eyes flashed slightly, but he'd had enough practice pulling a curtain over them to keep his emotions from shoving their way through.

'My mom. But it's her new boyfriend.' Her voice trailed off and then picked up again. 'Is it bad enough for anyone to notice?'

He resisted the urge to roll his eyes at her comment. She'd been hit again and she was not here to ask for help, but to protect the people who were hitting her.

'There are only so many times you can fall and land on your face, Jen.'

Her face dropped, and he lost his resolve. He put one hand on her shoulder and guided her deeper into the warren, until they reached a small room. 'Stay here.'

He wheeled out the door. When he came back he had a small bundle in one hand. Wordlessly, he passed over the ice.

She did her homework sitting in the small room, and when he came back a few hours later she stood up.
'Ready to go?' The question was inflectionless.
'Yeah.' There was no hint of casual in her tone, and she twisted the response into a resigned mutter.
'Are you going to your dad's or your mom's?'
Emotions flashed briefly across her face, so fast that they were impossible to read. 'Mom's I guess. A visit from the police right now is all I need. Jack, what am I going to tell people?'
His lips pulled into a taut line and he turned away.
The Rent-A-Wreck pulled up outside an apartment building to the sounds of loud music and breaking glass.
'Are you sure you don't want to go to your da'' he broke off his query when he saw that her face was set in firm lines of resignation.
'Yeah. I'll lock myself in the bathroom if it comes down to it.'
His heart snapped. 'I should have fed you something.'
'Don't worry about it, Jack, I'm not your responsibility.'
She opened the door and slid out. The latch caught, and the trashed Volvo pulled away from the curb.

Join the Discussion

This article has 14 comments. Post your own now!

Soleil said...
Dec. 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm
I loved your writing tone- it is very dark and clear and the emotions are portrayed like looking through glass into one of your character's minds. I was a little bit unsure of a couple lines in there though- especailly the one that she was here to protect the people that were hitting her, and also the one about landing on her face was a little random. Clear some details up about the storyline, but otherwise amazing!
krarthurs said...
May 31, 2011 at 7:14 pm
This was an excellent piece. I love your style and description. You are able to convey significant emotion and caracterization in only a little amount of words. That takes true talent. Keep it up!
Flashlevitation This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 31, 2011 at 6:04 pm
I LOVE this piece. I feel like I'm right there. Also, the ending is very suspenseful... I hope to hear more from you!
maxinefg said...
Mar. 4, 2011 at 8:31 am
You're a fantastic writer great job! You're attention to detail is amazing as well as your ability to capture an emotion 
awsumberry said...
Sept. 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm
Your an amazing writer. You should consider adding on to this story!
~*el-oh-vee-ee*~ said...
Nov. 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm
This is so good. I- ahh!!! it's so good!! :D *Favorites*
forever_dancer said...
Aug. 19, 2009 at 12:37 am
This piece is beautiul and delicious to read- though i wish you would have put more detail into her relationship w/ jack
Amber1994 said...
Aug. 18, 2009 at 11:28 pm
This is amazing! I love how you described how crowded the cafe' was. My only critique would be to explain how she was being abused a little more. Like, was it her dad, or her mother's new boyfriends? I found that part a little confusing. Great job tho! -please check out my poems and comment!-
allison99 said...
Aug. 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm
Wow. This is really, really great. You're such a great writer! And I abslolutely love how you described the cafe and everything...wonderful job. :]
awesomeaugust This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 18, 2009 at 2:41 am
I really enjoyed the beginning- I was expecting some sort of mystery to unravel- it's just that as I kept reading I never felt like things were explained or "unraveled" I'd love to see a version of this story with some minor improvements. Overall tough, I really like your writing style! Keep it up! ~I'd love any feedback/comments you have on my poems and stories~
SamRS said...
Jun. 18, 2009 at 9:38 pm
The begining was good, and I loved that first part of the description, but it seemed like you switched writing styles a few times. Also, after the first few paragraphs, it felt like you were forcing it.

I like the idea, and basis of the characters, but that's really all that's there. I think you need to flesh out your characters some more. You also reference things (e.g. The "Rent-A-Wreck") that are confusing and you don't really explain.

I think you've go... (more »)
storyofmylife said...
Jun. 18, 2009 at 4:40 pm
this was pretty good, but you need to work on your distinguishing between the two characters... relation, background, characteristics, etc..
and it was a little vague there at the end..
but you'll get better with practice so keep writing ^_^...
GoodDeeds said...
Mar. 24, 2009 at 6:51 pm
This is really great. I loved the beginning especially. Vivid writing, and emotional atmosphere. Hope you post more of your writing.
Elena B. said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 12:51 am
Hi, guys.
So, this is my piece, and I would love some feedback, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. I'm relativley new here, though, so I don't know how negative you're allowed to get. Within reason, I guess!
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