Coffee Boy

Dear Diary,
I have a secret.
His names Michael Clifford.
I want him to be mine.


1. Coffee Boy

I'm alone. I can feel eyes on me, the short spidery hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I walk further into the darkness beyond, my foot slips on the damp ground, I fall with a thud and my phone falls out my pocket. The light from the phone falls on my face and I am momentarily blinded by the sheerness of it. It reads 2:34. I shouldn't be out this late. I pick up my phone and grasp the cold metal back, slowly sliding it back into my pocket. I stand up and look around. Nothing but darkness. I spot a light and head towards it. It's a greasy spoon 24hr night cafe. The neon red light from the sign makes my eyes curl but I'm just glad to be out of the street. I take one last fleeting look among the street, yet I am disappointed. Nothing. Maybe I'm being paranoid. I open the door and it creaks slowly. The floor is mustard coloured tiles and it doesn't look like it's been cleaned for days. Grease pools cover the floor and black spots of coffee litter the floor like stars against the dark night. There's someone behind the counter. I can feel eyes on my back as I swing shut the door and take a seat. They're uncomfortable, the hard ridges dig into me and the numbness of falling over mashed with shame hit me like a ton of bricks. I can feel my face flushing although the other person behind the counter will wonder why. That makes my blush harder. I look around, the cream walls are littered with old movie posters of Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn stares at me though the solid glass of her frame. An old jukebox stands in the corner of the cafe and I can hear the softly playing sounds, they mingle with the fear and give me a strange feeling. Not quite happy but not quite sad. The lonely in-between. I spot movement out of the corner of my eye and the soft padding sounds of floor against trainers make me look up. The person behind the counter is a boy. His hair is the colour of ketchup and he's wearing a red apron, it's stained with various marks and the emblem of a coffee cup is barely recognisable. A dark mark is over the name plate so I have no idea what he's called. "Ugh, you ready to order?" His voice is soft, with undertones of gravel. "Yeah, can I just have a cup of coffee please?" I ask, looking down at the table. The faux wood is peeling off and I can see the plastic underneath. "Sure." He moves backwards, dragging his feet along the floor and through the double doors behind him. I watch as red flashes in and out through the tiny window in the door. The door creaks open and I'm greeted by the slightly oaky smell of coffee. He's juggling toast and 2 cups of coffee, one of the cups spills slightly and he looks at me apologetically. I look around to see who's getting the toast, I'm the only one here. "I only ordered coffee?" I say as he sits down opposite me. "I know but you looked like you needed it, Vegemite?"

"Sure, thanks."

"No problem."

He got up, laces tracing on the floor and up to the counter, picked up some Vegemite and came back to the table.

"Thank you."

I unscrewed the jar and the salty, yeasty smell attacked my nostrils. I picked up the knife and tried to spread the Vegemite evenly across the bread. The boy sits across from me, sipping his coffee, wearing a slight grin and a tired eye. I eat slowly and make small glances up at him. He laughs easily at me and I can feel my face burning wih the pressure. Red blotches cover my face and the guy's ketchup quiff wiggles up and down. I can see he's struggling not to laugh, his nose is slightly pink and suddenly it explodes out of him, like a happy firework of pure joy. I find myself laughing with him, for no apparent reason. It felt nice to laugh. I haven't in such a long time. I drained the last of my coffee and he picks up the cup and plate, chuckling as he moves through the double doors. I could still hear him laughing through the thick wood, I look at my phone. 3:04am. He's gonna be worried about me. He comes back and I start getting out my purse.

"Don't worry about it," he says, shaking his head, his hair was slightly deflated now.

"How much?" I ask, as I take out 5 dollars. He lead me over to the till and and adds it up. He takes out a pen and writes something on the receipt. "Ugh we were supposed to shut at 2:30 so technically you don't have to pay."

"You've stayed open for half an hour for me?"

"You looked like you needed something to perk you up," he says, smiling at me.

I smile back and he hands me the bill. It did say I had to pay £0.00.

"Seriously, I can't let you do that."

"I'm sorry but we have to shut now," he smiles.


"I'm sorry," he's grinning madly. He walks through the double doors at the back and I push open the front, they squeak and creak as they lift off the floor and I walk down the street, I see the boy looking out of the window at me and I wave, he waves back and the lights of the cafe turn off. Plunging the whole street into darkness. I turn on my phone and use it to guide me like a torch, there is a bush shelter about 10 mins away so I head for it. The next one is in 15 minutes. I sit on the cold plastic of the shelter and draw my coat around me, rubbing my hands together. Eventually the bus turns up and I get on, the man driving looks about 40 with small spikes of hair and dark circles under his eyes, there are two youngish boys sitting at the back, shaved heads and shoe laces trailing along the floor, I pay for a fare closest to my flat and the man hands back my change, his fingernails are yellow and he smells of tobacco and nicotine. I try to sit as far away from the youths as I can, the journey into Sydney is long from here and I keep looking out the window, imagining the red headed boy and wondering what he's doing now. I take another look at the receipt and notice there are a string of numbers along the bottom. I count them. 11 numbers, it's his phone number. I smile and add it into my phone, naming him coffee boy as I don't know what he's called. The bus stops and I get off, it's much brighter here, the city lights burn my eyes and I take the shortcut back to my flat. It's through a dark alley but recently the council have installed lampposts so it's a bit brighter. My feet drag but I try to walk quickly. By the time I reach my door, my hand is shaking and I can hardly put my key in the lock. I do and open the door, stepping in and shutting and locking the door behind me. I take off my coat and walk into the living room, my brother is on his Xbox still, playing Fifa. It looks like he's winning because as I watch he talks to himself "Good pass!" He shoots but misses and he starts swearing at the tv "What are you doing!" He shouts. "We have neighbours you know," I say, coming into the room and sitting next to him.

"And where have you been?" He asks, looking at me in surprise. "I went to Martha's," I say.

"Martha's?" His face lights up, he has a thing for her.

"But she forgot to ask her mom so by the time I got there, her mom was having a go at her because she thought I was Martha's boyfriend."


"Yeah her moms very paranoid at the moment."

"So Martha doesn't have a boyfriend?"


"Ok ok," he says, smiling, "just to clear it up...?"



"She doesn't." I whisper. We both start laughing and I get up to get something to eat, having a brother who's in love with your best friend is hard work. Especially as he's 3 years older. I'm 17 and he's 20, I'm nearly 18, I've just got 2 more months and then my brother said he's gonna get me my own car. It's so much work walking everywhere, my brother works in a garage and leaves early in the morning, he's been trying to get me a job there but I just don't understand cars. He can't drive me anywhere because he's never here. I do have a job, I work in target. I'm that person who beeps through everything you buy. When I'm not doing that I'm at college, I want to be a teacher, I'm doing a childcare course and I want to go to uni to do a teaching degree. I only work on Fridays and Saturdays, giving me Sunday to do stuff like shopping for food (I get a target discount) and my brother brings home fast food on a Sunday, so we eat McDonalds or KFC. I make my way upstairs and lie in my bed. I can hear max going into his room. I decide to text coffee boy.

Me: Hey! I'm that girl that was in the cafe a few hours ago :)

He texts back almost straight away

Him: Hey coffee girl ;)

Me: hey coffee boy :)

Me: what's your actual name? I couldn't see it on your uniform?

Him: Michael ;)

Me: ha I'm Michelle :)

Him: destiny eh? ;)

Me: something like that :)

We text for a further hour before I realise it's 5 in the morning.

Me: I've got to go now but I hope I see you again coffee boy ;)

Him: ditto coffee girl ;)

I fall asleep dreaming of ketchup and coffee. What a strange world it is.

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