Hi, my name’s Miranda and I’ll be your depressed girl in the nameless café for the day. I have purple hair and I smell like beer and cigarettes. I look like I haven’t slept all night because I haven’t. There’s scars all across my arms. I talk to the staff so quietly they can barely hear me, and I never pick my head up. I’m indecisive, I order a pumpkin spice latte but I wanted eggnog. I order a sausage egg and cheese but I’m not hungry at all. I clutch my coffee cup to my chest and shuffle my feet when I walk across the lobby, ignoring the jovial conversation about me, and pick the table farthest away, in the corner by the window. I’m wearing furry Valentine’s Day pajama pants with a bright orange Aztec print alpaca sweater. Bra? What bra? Who mentioned a bra? Everyone stares at me but I never look back. I just sit in the corner with my purple head down and sip on my coffee like every minute hurts, because this morning every minute does. I’m lost in a thought, a memory, a regret, somewhere far away. I blame it on California today. Last night was Pittsburgh’s fault. Yesterday New York. I am no more an addition to the café atmosphere than a shadow that slipped in under the crack in the bell clad door. I am an empty space. I am the air from a different climate. I am a mystery. I am an idea the patron’s will ponder for the rest of their day, while they make copies in the printer room, while they chat business with their clients, while they pick up their kids from school. I’ll be on their mind.
But me? I’ll just stay on that thought, far away, like a leech. I won’t let go, I can’t. It grows into me, with me, getting all tangled up in my veins, making itself my breath and heartbeat. It’s taking over, cell by cell, then dispelling my bits and pieces across space and time, like rain falling on the places I’ve been. I’ll stay there all day, while I drive back home with the second half of my uneaten sausage egg and cheese, smoke my cigarettes, play with the dogs, read my books. Until somebody calls my name, beckoning me to reality, or something real enough happens that I forget, for a moment, from where I came. I’ll be there, on that thought, waiting, secretly wishing on my what ifs and maybes, safely tucked away, watching life unfold around me at a distance. Far enough away, I tell myself, to not touch anything, not even breathe on it, to not fuck anything up today.
I sip my coffee. I read a book I picked up off the corner stand. I eat half my sandwich, then I leave, silently, with my coffee cup clutched to my chest.