I woke up, and it was raining. I had a kink in my neck. I tried to stretch it out without getting out of bed but didn’t have much luck, so I decided to just call in sick. I knew my neck would make my day hunched over my desk miserable. It also never rains in L.A., and I wanted to enjoy it.
I treated myself to a Jersey bagel from the freezer and popped it in the toaster. I covered it in cream cheese and smashed avocado, and as I took the first bite, I remembered the dream that I had last night.
I was at this man’s loft. It was a man that I apparently knew intimately. I wanted to brush my teeth, but I didn’t have my toothbrush. He had a pack of spare toothbrushes and offered me one, but the gesture made me upset. I didn’t want him to waste a toothbrush on me.
Especially in my dream. There was a kind of weight that came with that, and I mulled that thought over throughout the day. It really bothered me, but the more I thought about it, the less I could figure out what it was really about.
Later, I decided to enjoy the rain by going out into it, and when I came downstairs from my apartment, the squirrel was waiting for me on the fence, soaking wet. I goaded him over with a piece of bagel crust that I had saved for the occasion and tucked him into my rain jacket pocket.
Anyway, I went for a stroll with Maurice the squirrel happily gnawing his bagel inside my pocket, and made my way to the coffee shop.
The coffee shop was packed with people trying to duck out of the rain. I was hoping to have a quiet interlude and watch people traipsing through the foreign weather from a table by the shop’s large window. After 5 minutes in line waiting to order, it was evident that that was not going to happen. Maurice felt my anxiety and popped out of my pocket to take in the crowd.
I stood in the corner after I got my tea and stared out of the large window at the rain anyway until the table that I wanted had opened up. When I sat down, I noticed that Maurice had left my pocket. I tried not to panic and looked around the shop casually trying to catch any movement out of the corner of my eye.
I turned in time to see him scurrying behind the counter. When I finished my tea, I left the coffee shop and went around to the alley behind the building. There, I reunited with Maurice who was munching on a croissant. I watched him eat for a minute. Realizing that he would be at it for awhile, I let him be knowing he could find his own way home.
I walked toward him, almost powerless. He stopped in front of the storefront to light a cigarette. I stopped next to him, casually leaning against the wall. He looked over and offered me a drag. I took it. When I handed the cigarette back, I turned to face him.
I counted my breaths as it registered that I knew him from somewhere other than my dream. He worked there at the coffee shop. I smiled and before I knew what I was doing, my hand reached up and touched his face tenderly.
I wanted to tell him that I would take his toothbrush after all, and then I came back to reality…
Naturally, unaware of the intimacy we shared in my dream, he rebuffed me by averting his eyes, snuffing out his cigarette and went inside without a word.
I stood there for a minute wondering what to do next as I felt my organs shrinking inside me out of mortification. I noticed that I had been holding my breath. I let it out and noticed, also, that my neck still hurt, so I came home. And here we are.
If we had been friends, the Coffee Shop Guy and I, I could have explained that my brain had short circuited at a memory of a relationship that wasn’t real. He probably would have thought it was funny, and we could have laughed about it…
As it is, I’ll never be able to go back to that coffee shop again, which is a shame because I really like it there.
I hope it doesn’t rain again any time soon.