Take Another Look


Kate bundled up her shoulders as if to protect her body from being whisked away by the wind, or the beginning of the day. The barista at the Kaladi Brothers counter that day had bright patches in her hair, pink tufts against black. She was cute in a bulky sort of way. Germanic, Kate wondered, with a bit of Icelandic? She was a natural at remembering features and faces. She fingered the cigarette in her pocket as she waited in line. Her hands were trembling. Somebody should sue them upstairs for discriminating against girls, she thought wryly. Upstairs they operated a place called gay city where you could freely get yourself tested for STD’s with a simple finger prick test- if you were a guy. Kate ordered a dry cappuccino and a blueberry scone, but she didn’t have the energy to do more than tear the pieces of bread apart and look out the window with a sense of unease. She gave the girl behind the counter another quick glance, and then lit her cigarette with a silver lighter with her initials engraved on it. She took a few short drags then quietly stubbed it out. She pushed the plate away from her and gazed out the window. An elderly couple hobbled by at a painfully sluggish pace. A young guy who could have passed for 30 shuffled in. He was only 17, but his face was already a compass of haunted insights. Kate could hear he had a Romanian accent, and she wondered if he already had asylum in both countries. An unusual boy for America, Kate thought, then picked up a copy of the papers. If anything, there wasn’t enough mayhem on the covers. The media was tired of covering the war in Iraq, the exit, and now the return to Afghanistan, and it looked as though the writers were more engaged in Tiger Woods philandering than in international events. Do people think we’re foolproof against the mistakes we’ve made in the past, Kate wondered? Things had really changed radically in the last ten years in this city. People no longer addressed each other randomly, but sat alone quietly, so lost in their own thoughts she felt she could paste cartoon bubbles above peoples heads and they wouldn’t notice. Or if they did, they would be too lost in their simple worries to stop her. Everybody thinks they are alone.


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