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Thousand Year Song

It was two o' clock when he walked in, as normal, like most other days with a stack of of paper in a file and several sharpened pencils and write. He wore a long coat and hat and his pants were wet with snow.

He carried himself with a sort of involuntary pride, as if it was normal to carry such things and do what he did. He would walk in, completely oblivious to the waitress who was obviously hitting on him. She gazed at him with doe eyes, and the timbre of her voice suggested she wanted much more than what she got; his complete indifference. He would order a cup of coffee with three to four servings sugar, and two creamer, and any more afterwards with two to three servings of sugar, and a single creamer.

Each hour, on the exact second, he would order his next.

He wrote for the most part the whole time. Here and there it seems he would get stuck and his eyes would explore around the room. He looked at the shiny wax on the adjacent table, or the residual coffee in his cup. His eye was a magnifying glass and found itself drawn to the small and inconsequential; which he found wonder and inspiration in. He did not look out the window at the cars and the crowds, nor would he look over to the waitress, eying him the whole time, waiting for the next hour to tick; just for the chance to speak to him. He paid no mind to society, and it politely returned the favor.

Every other week he would switch to a new folder when the previous one was filled. Each file held 120 sheets and they were all labeled, starting at 1a, 1b, 2a and so on with little variation. He came three days a week with a perfect sense of time, managing to come at the same time everyday despite not carrying a watch. Everyday he came was the same. Always after the rush when the diner got quiet. He would come on Monday; order his coffee and write that day while the charming waitress waited on him. Wednesday; he would do the same, and then again on Saturday. No one knew what he would write, he would just write; it seemed about anything, and everything. He did this for several weeks

So he comes in this one day, it is two o' clock; as usual when he walks in.

He sits down, not holding a notebook, nor anything but two cases; He puts it on the table, and in one there is an old typewriter and in the other there are eight files seven filled with that he already wrote and the eighth filled with blank paper. He takes once out and starts to read through while typing. Here and there he would pause with a puzzled look on his face and scratch out parts of his original manuscript. He typed furiously with pauses of curiosity not brought on by boredom but by deep thought. It's as if he had a question and was looking for an answer in the inanimate; oddly enough it seemed that every time he would find his answer and continue writing.

It was printed, nice, neat and trimmed to the same exact margin as every single other piece of paper in that case. All of them, the font and organization of words printed perfectly in rows. It was perfect.

Days turned again into weeks and it came to where he was reading the last page of the last pile.

5:59

He had stayed an hour later than he normally did.

as he typed the last few he had read the clock struck. To the waitress it was the strike of a knife. He packed his things, left an extremely generous tip and left.



Five weeks later he came again and like before he carried two briefcases, the waitress was working, hazy and not paying attention.

His perfection shattered, he came at two twenty three instead of his usual time. The pages in the case were of random amounts, and the amount of sugar in his coffee was based purely on his fancy. He came here now on a whim, not a schedule or a necessity. His previous inhuman qualities had been smashed, and now sitting laid a very mortal and earthly man. It was two forty when he ruined all trace of his impersonality. His coldness was made warm in an instant.

The waitress was serving him coffee, not yet realizing who sat before her.

"Miss, do you like to read?"

And she hesitated a reply, baffled as her haze was interrupted. A sudden clarity.

"Excuse me?"

She looked at him this time, and recognized the man who sat before her. Her eyes glowed like a fire and she hid her smile.

"Miss, I asked you… do you like to read?"

She nodded, still somewhat baffled.

"Please, if you would be so kind, as to prepare two cups of coffee, and read something for me?"

His voice was subtle, quiet, calm, smooth but not feminine. It was surprisingly fond coming from someone who had yet spoken at all to her. She shook her head, looking toward dimly over her shoulder to her table. He thought for a second, interpreting her wordless reply and then spoke again with the same demeanor.

"Maybe you could come, on a Sunday, a Tuesday, or a Thursday with me and read this?"

This was not a stranger, but a friend. She gave him a look the explained her uncertainty as currently her words we escaping her lips.

"I will see you then, I hope"

And he walked out, and sure enough, on that Sunday afternoon, they walked in. They spoke nothing at all. Neither of them tried to force a conversation as none was necessary. She read, and he watched; no questions and no answers. Day in and out, they would come at the same time, and each order the same exact coffee, prepared in the most identical way and would sip at it, in regular intervals. They were connected by a tempo, their every action falling on different beats. It was kept with a machine like perfection.

Spring came and the snow in the city turned into a foggy wet dew.

She looked at him and saw rising warmth. He sipped his drink and looked at her the coffee steam rising into the air and dispersed. He read again, the final sentence. There were annotations and edits in both of their handwriting.

"It is done then."

She said with a somber smile. She finished her coffee and frowned. He did not look at her but stared at the paper. He sat there for an awkward amount of time. She sat uncomfortable almost breaking into tears. She was getting up to leave when he spoke.

"It still needs some more work, still want to help?"

With this excuse she sat back down and smiled, and for the first time he did too but it was not the last time we would either.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

AbstractFragment This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Wow. I absolutely love your interpretation. For me, readers help me understand my work more than my actually writing it. I wanted to suggest that what the man was writing was a "Thousand Year Song" something he would still be writing until he passed but it had to be ineffable, the magic is the wonder of what a man could be writing about his whole life.

I actually intentially drew focus from what he was writing. Like I had posted this was a rewrite from a much earlier work, I'm mostly p... (more »)

 
thetruthawaits94 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 20, 2011 at 10:06 pm
It seems like this story could go a lot of different places. It was a bit frustrating in parts because i want something to happen for the longest time and all the way to the end your writing was so ... quiet. It seemed like such an everyday situation with a sense of dreaminess to it as well. I loved your vocabulary, it really set the tone of the story! I don't feel like the story is done however because during this short story you seemed to focus on what the man was writing about than about the ... (more »)
 
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