Connor didn’t know anything about her, didn’t even know her name, but he knew this: she was the one for him. The first time he saw her it was if he’d been punched in the solar plexus: he was in love.
It had been a Tuesday.
He had seen her through the window of La Petite Café as he walked past. She was standing behind the counter, but even from that distance Connor could feel her warmth; felt himself being drawn to her; and he knew that he was lost, lost, lost.
Connor thought of little else for the rest of the day. He drew a love-heart with an arrow through it and sat staring blankly at it.
She was perfect, he decided.
After that, Connor would find any excuse to walk past La Petite Café. She was always there, always smiling: a softness in a hard world.
She is gentle, Connor thought, she is kind and open; she is a balm for a weary soul.
These thoughts began to change Connor. The more he thought about her, the more he changed. Slowly, over many months, he became kinder and more tolerant. He didn’t realise it at the time, but his longing was transforming him.
One morning, as he was walking past the café, Connor made up his mind: he was going to go to talk to her. He slowly opened the door and stepped into the dimly lit room. The smell of coffee, and the sound of lively chatter, filled the air.
And there she was, but not as he’d expected: not as he had hoped. She was a life-sized cardboard cut-out; an advertisment for ‘Coffee Oké’.
“Are you alright there?” a waitress asked in a concerned tone.
“I…” said Connor and then stopped.
“I’ve seen you walking past,” the waitress continued. “I hoped you’d come in one day. Can I get you a coffee?”
And then she smiled at him, and Connor found himself smiling back.
“What’s your name?” he asked.