fevered inspiration: cream invades the coffee black

While I wait for my sister at the Denny's, I watch the cream swirling into the coffee. Little intricate spirals, random, or not actually random. She sits down and bumps the table, disrupting the pattern. I smile at her and say it's nice to see her. She's tall and dark-haired and today she looks like business and smells like smoke. She compliments my suit, and I say thanks and begin to stir the coffee.

She takes her coffee black, and I never wait to watch the swirls once she's here. She says she's looking forward to Paris. I tell her I know. The waitress arrives and takes our order. The food is better than I expected. She talks about her plans in Paris, and I talked about my job. We haven't talked for months, but not because of any real distance. Unless you count literal distance. We've been busy. Sometimes we find the time to write.

And even now we act like it's just business. I don't talk about how weird it feels to be in SeaTac with her, the city of departures, but I mention the weather is funny lately. I tell her about the windstorm. I tell her I might be getting a job in Boston. I don't tell her about the desperation there.

We step outside for a smoke after I pour another creamer into my coffee. I don't stir. It happens naturally while we're gone. Some things happen whether or not you interfere.

The night wears on, we talk about everything but our lives. We leave it unsaid because sometimes words don't work like you want them to. Then the sun comes up and she flies away and I take the bus back to Seattle. I won't sleep until later tonight.

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