At the Coffee House

A young man finally gathers up the courage to talk to a girl he often sees at a cafe.


1. Alrik

The girl was sitting in the corner as usual, she was writing in her notebook again.  It was either that or reading a crime novel, usually by Agatha Christie.  Occasionally she would be typing in an aqua netbook.

She’s a very attractive girl.  Long dark brown hair that had a slight wave to it, gentle almond-shaped brown eyes set in an oval face.  And full kissable lips.  I could sit and stare at her all day if I could.

Today she was wearing dark blue faded jeans and a striped pink and purple knitted cardigan over a lilac shirt, with black and white checked Converses.  She had a large blue handbag with pink flowers on it between her feet.  An unusual, but fun, combination of colours and patterns.

There was a half-drunk cup of iced mocha in front of her.  She’d usually order an English Breakfast or Chinese Green tea.  Perhaps a treat for herself; a reward for something she’d recently accomplished in school or work.

She would come in every Thursday without fail.  Usually around four to five o’clock in the afternoon.  Around the time classes usually finish, so she must be a student.

I want her to see me, but she wouldn’t look twice at someone like me.  Does she even like foreign students?

She started to play with her hair.  She does this sometimes when she’s deep in thought or if she’s starting to get tired.  She also nibbles on her lip.  She looks adorable when she does that.

Make your move, I told myself.  What’s the worst that could happen?

I stood up, grabbed my cup of coffee and walked up to her table.  She looked up at me, her eyes wide in a questioning way like a child.

‘Hi, I’m Alrik,’ I introduced myself.

She smiled and extended her hand.  ‘Nessa,’ she replied.

I took her hand in mine.  It was soft and warm.

‘You’re Swedish right?’

‘Born and raised,’ I replied. She probably picked up on my accent.

She looked at me almost in awe.  ‘You speak very good English.’

I smiled sheepishly.  ‘Not very well,’ I said.  ‘I’m still learning.’

‘You’re a student?’

‘Yes, I’m studying English, as a language,’ I replied.  ‘I’m studying to become a translator.  Or a teacher if I can’t get into translating.  You?’



After that initial introduction, we slid easily into conversation.  Surprisingly we both liked similar tastes in music, only hers were more eclectic than mine, and I’m a fairly eclectic listener.  She even listened to my favourite Scandinavian metal band, Midnatt Sol.

When the conversation turned towards television, I told her that she wouldn’t know my favourite series because it was from my home country.  In return I asked her about her favourite series and she automatically answered, ‘Criminal Minds.’.

‘Really?’ I couldn’t believe that a girl like her would like a crime drama like that.  Mainly because it’s so dark and violent.  I would have pegged for her for something like Castle or Bones.  I told her these thoughts.

‘I do watch those’ she replied.  ‘But they don’t feel as real to me as Criminal Minds does.  I just love the psychology,’ she explained.  ‘Probably because that’s what I’m studying at uni.’

‘The criminal psychologies?’ I asked.  I was surprised, but it would make sense if she did, the way she seemed to take in everything around her; also her love of the Agatha Christie’s novels, and her interest in crime drama.

She shook her head.  ‘I haven’t quite decided yet.  I’m only in my second year.  But I definitely want to go into social psychology or psychoanalysis.’  She paused and asked, ‘You know the old Alfred Hitchcock movie Spellbound?’

‘Yes, I do,’ he replied.  I’m a big fan of Ingrid Bergman, a fellow Swede, so I’d seen all of her major films, and some of her lesser known ones, which included Spellbound.

‘It’s what first got me interested in psychology,’ she explained.  ‘I know it’s not very glamorous, but it’s something that I want to do,’

‘How do your parents feel about it?’ I asked. 

‘My parents don’t really understand the subject, but they’re happy that I’ve found something that I can apply myself in.’

Nessa talked about different case studies she’d learned about in class.  She became very animated.  I didn’t quite understand the things that she talked about, but she made it interesting to listen to.

I liked that she was telling me these things.  It made me feel closer to her.

At one point she had said “gotten”, rather than using “got.  I corrected her, stressing on the word “got”, telling her that “gotten” is American and not grammatically correct in British English.

Nessa laughed and said, ‘My father also corrects me on that all the time and yet I still make that mistake.’

I laugh with her.  We started talking about our other hobbies and interests.

She mentioned that she studied face reading in her spare time.

‘My family and friends say I'm really good at reading people,’ she said.  ‘I don’t really think I am, but that’s what they say.’

‘Can you try to read me?’ I asked.

She looked at me hesitantly, before she replied, ‘Okay, but keep in mind I’m still a beginner so I may not very accurate.’

I smiled encouragingly at her.  ‘Have at it.’

The way she looked at me was like she could see into my very soul.  And I liked it.

‘You are able to make accurate judgements about people, but you worry too much so you tend to be silent around girls.  You’ve made some bad decisions regarding your love life, and because of this you rarely show your feelings.

‘You have strong opinions about how a lady should be treated, so you mostly likely had a strict but fair upbringing.  You’re an emotional person but you are very practical.

‘When you corrected me on my use of English grammar, it told me that you like to follow the rules, and don’t like it when others don’t,’ she said.  ‘The fact that you tend to order the same thing around the same time on a specific day tells me you like routine.’

She had seen me!  She also had me down to a tee.

‘The way you looked at me told me that you really like me,’ she said.  ‘But you seemed afraid to approach me.’  She paused.  ‘Possibly because you have been rejected before; perhaps several times.’

If I was surprised before, I was now speechless.  ‘Why didn’t you say anything?’

She bit her lip shyly.  ‘Because I wanted you to make the first move,’ she admitted.  ‘I’m old fashioned that way.’

She glanced at her watch.

‘I have to go now or I’ll be late for dinner,’ she said as she stood up.  She stuffed her book into her handbag before looping her arm through the straps and hefting it onto her shoulder.

‘Can I walk you out?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ she agreed.

I walked her to the bus stop on the opposite side of the road, just as a bus stopped.  Just before she stepped on, she turned to me and asked, ‘Same time next week?’ she asked.

‘Yes, same time,’ I agreed.

She smiled, turned to the driver and displayed her ticket, and moved to a seat facing the street where I was standing.  She waved to me as the bus pulled away.

I stood there until the bus turned a corner

I look forward to really getting to know her.

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