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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Imagination - what a pain

(Continuation of yesterday's story - I'm blatantly using the prompts to get me back into writing this thing...)

She casually moved her head back to face in his direction and allowed her eyes to sweep over his face.  He was looking elsewhere, absorbed in thought.  Had he really been watching her?  Was he doing like she had just been doing, pretending to not be watching? Well, whatever he was doing, she was going to go get a cup of coffee and warm up. 

She entered the confusing maze of the self-serve cafeteria-style food service area.  This was another annoyance.  She was never quite sure that she was doing this right.  It always seemd as if the clusters of noisy, laughing people all knew exactly what they were doing but she still wasn't completely sure how to negotiate anything beyond a drink from the coffee and cocoa bar. People seemed to be able to stride right up to the counters and give food orders but it looked like chaos to her.  Is there a line?  A pecking order?  It just looks like a mob and she is never able to muster the courage to dive in and place an order.  When it's time to eat lunch with the family she always volunteers to grab a table in exchange for Carlos tackling the disorder and crowds around the food counters.

She dispensed coffee into the paper cup and managed to find the right-sized lid.  She could feel the presence of a someone just behind her, standing almost too closely.  She focused her attention on her cup and lid, willing herself to not look up.  Was this the man who'd been looking at her before?  Maybe he was going to offer to buy her coffee.  What would she do if he did?  Is it wrong to accept a coffee from a stranger just because you're married?  It's not like she doesn't wear a ring.

She finally looked up and it wasn't him at all.  It was a large, unhappy-looking woman who seemed to be waiting for Marianne to get out of the way.  And when Marianne had finished paying for her coffee and gone back out into the general seating area she noticed that he wasn't sitting where he had been.  She slowly cast her eyes around the room and then she saw him, headed towards the door with a tall, slim brunette who decidedly did not have hat-hair, and following them were three grinning children.  She could see now that this was a family who skiied regularly.  They had expensive and attractive ski clothes on, not all-purpose winter clothes and jeans as she did, and even the children had an air of feeling completely at ease in this element. A lovely family.

How stupid could she be?  Marianne chided herself angrily at having entertained a fantasy that the man had even for a moment been interested in her.  Her, with her plain and sturdy body and her hat-hair and glasses.  She'd envisioned him as a fellow soul on the fringes, someone who would recognize her discomfort and share in it, but he was probably only noticing her to feel sorry for her.  If he'd noticed her at all.

She was always doing this, building up simple interactions in her head until there was a story, complete with intrigue, drama, longing and always a sense that someone had seen through her unassuming and sometimes awkward exterior to recognize someone beautiful and extraordinary.  When she was really nothing but ordinary.  "God, I should write romance novels," she thought to herself as she drained the last of her coffee.

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