Main Street, Valentine's Day

I sit at the bar of the coffee shop, looking at traffic on Main.  Across the street, headless mannequins model matching bra and panty sets.  A woman in a thick red scarf and purple hat waits to cross the street. 

A man sits at the far end of the bar and takes out his iPad.  Two others claim a table strewn with newspapers.  They talk of markets and clients, writing furiously on white tablets.

A car parallel parks.  A woman emerges, wearing furry boots and a peek-a-boo shirt and crisscrossed chopsticks stabbed into her bun.

A delivery man carries a vase of flowers.

Outside, two yellow balloons are snagged in a sweet gum tree still strung with Christmas lights.

The door opens.  Kathy walks in.  She wears a purple coat and red pants and white New Balance tennis shoes.

She makes the rounds, greeting people she knows.  She finds a seat and watches.  She speaks to herself.  “No one is listening to me.  Why is everyone ignoring me?”

A man passes. 

She asks, “What did you do to my head?”

He pivots.  “I’m sorry?”

“What did you do to my head?”

“I don’t think I did anything to your head.” 

“You’re right.  You didn’t do anything to my head.”

Kathy leaves.  Outside, she sits on a bench and ties a brown scarf around her head.  Moments later, she rises and walks away.

Within ten minutes, she’s back, clutching a bag of Doritos in her hand.  She sits, eating and watching.  She makes her rounds.  She leaves and sits on the bench.

Another fifteen minutes pass.  Kathy returns.  I listen to the reactions of the people.  Mostly, they are kind.

I don’t wonder why Kathy returns so many times during the day to the coffee shop on Main.  I can tell: The coffee shop is Kathy’s safe place.

I gather my things and head outside.  I meet Kathy at the corner.  “Good morning,” I say. 

“Good morning.”  She enters the coffee shop.



This prompt was written in response to this week's Trifecta's Writing Challenge.  The word was safe.

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Main Street, Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Main Street, Valentine's Day

I sit at the bar of the coffee shop, looking at traffic on Main.  Across the street, headless mannequins model matching bra and panty sets.  A woman in a thick red scarf and purple hat waits to cross the street. 

A man sits at the far end of the bar and takes out his iPad.  Two others claim a table strewn with newspapers.  They talk of markets and clients, writing furiously on white tablets.

A car parallel parks.  A woman emerges, wearing furry boots and a peek-a-boo shirt and crisscrossed chopsticks stabbed into her bun.

A delivery man carries a vase of flowers.

Outside, two yellow balloons are snagged in a sweet gum tree still strung with Christmas lights.

The door opens.  Kathy walks in.  She wears a purple coat and red pants and white New Balance tennis shoes.

She makes the rounds, greeting people she knows.  She finds a seat and watches.  She speaks to herself.  “No one is listening to me.  Why is everyone ignoring me?”

A man passes. 

She asks, “What did you do to my head?”

He pivots.  “I’m sorry?”

“What did you do to my head?”

“I don’t think I did anything to your head.” 

“You’re right.  You didn’t do anything to my head.”

Kathy leaves.  Outside, she sits on a bench and ties a brown scarf around her head.  Moments later, she rises and walks away.

Within ten minutes, she’s back, clutching a bag of Doritos in her hand.  She sits, eating and watching.  She makes her rounds.  She leaves and sits on the bench.

Another fifteen minutes pass.  Kathy returns.  I listen to the reactions of the people.  Mostly, they are kind.

I don’t wonder why Kathy returns so many times during the day to the coffee shop on Main.  I can tell: The coffee shop is Kathy’s safe place.

I gather my things and head outside.  I meet Kathy at the corner.  “Good morning,” I say. 

“Good morning.”  She enters the coffee shop.



This prompt was written in response to this week's Trifecta's Writing Challenge.  The word was safe.

18 Comments:

At February 15, 2012 at 4:43 PM , Anonymous Rachel said...

Awesome story Kelly is it true I wonder? I really enjoyed it and I am glad most people are kind.

 
At February 15, 2012 at 6:01 PM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

There is a woman in my town who can be seen walking everywhere, the whole time carrying on some sort of one-sided conversation. Sadly, some of the things people say about her aren't very kind.

 
At February 15, 2012 at 6:13 PM , Anonymous Coming East said...

You have done a great job of showing the observant mind of a writer.

 
At February 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM , Anonymous megan said...

I have a soft spot for people like Kathy. I'm the one engaged in a conversation with someone like her, no matter where it may be.

 
At February 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM , Anonymous jesterqueen1 said...

When you've got nowhere to go, you crave the familiarity of place and yearn for kind voices.

 
At February 16, 2012 at 3:15 PM , Anonymous Dana said...

Our coffee shop has a Kathy. His name is Arthur. Loved this!

 
At February 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM , Anonymous thepsychobabble said...

Our town has a Kathy. Her name is Katie. The post office is one safe spot for her, and the library is the other.

 
At February 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! I think every town must have a Kathy.

 
At February 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thank you for reading!

 
At February 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I know nothing about this woman except for dealings with her at the coffee shop. Who knows where she lives?

 
At February 16, 2012 at 5:01 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At February 16, 2012 at 5:01 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thank you!

 
At February 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I was listening in on one conversation and couldn't tell for certain whether the people were being kind or mocking her. Thanks for reading!

 
At February 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Yes, it's true. Every time I go to this shop, regardless of the day or time, she is there.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 4:55 AM , Anonymous Trifeta said...

Thanks for joining up, Kelly. This is remarkable. I love the pace that you dictate with your short paragraphs. I love the descriptions of the characters and what they wear. I love how sensitively you deal with Kathy. In short, I love everything about it. Hope you can join us over the weekend too.

 
At February 17, 2012 at 7:52 AM , Anonymous barbara said...

What did you do to my head?
sigh
thanks for sharing this. Kenai has a Kathy, too. I think y ou're right - we all have one. Maybe someday we will BE Kathy ourselves.

 
At February 21, 2012 at 9:03 AM , Anonymous Seasidesmores said...

That was really visual. I felt as though I was in the coffee shop watching too.

 
At February 21, 2012 at 9:05 AM , Anonymous Nick Rolynd said...

Interesting piece. Love your take on "safe." =3

 

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