She watched him silent as sipped his coffee, wondering how it started. With a pulse growing louder? With an idea of passion suddenly occurring in his head or heart? Not in his heart. The heart was surely irrelevant for this. Was it an idea of something lost or yearned for? A recurring image or focus of desire? And as she watched she saw him shift in his chair and thought of a steady heartbeat rising; she thought of more, much more.

She could picture him alone somewhere away from this busy café with its noise and coffee stink. He was somewhere else reading on a sofa, or waking up in his bed, lying on a beach all alone perhaps. Tall and lean against a faded towel hearing percussive waves, feeling the sun’s heat fade as the beach emptied of people and the sand began to chill.

As the waiter moved to take away the empties, she stared up and away at a different face, murmuring thank you. This face was also handsome in a harried, distracted sort of a way. Urgent, disinterested. She pictured a different mouth widening, a different head thrown back, a different sculpted throat stretched and exposed. She felt herself blushing and pretended to fiddle with her purse. Two images now and she thought she might want to see more in the private picture in her head, to know more. She saw the waiter move towards him as he rose from his seat to pay his bill.

From across the room she watched as he tapped his card. He didn’t notice the waiter and he didn’t notice that she was there. And then the waiter was moving fast and on to the next thing. In slow motion she was getting up to leave and neither man had seen that she was there, had seen her blush or the pictures in her head.

Later lying in her immaculate room on crisp clean sheets she had put on the bed that morning, she lay very still. Soft and cool perfection. Eyes closed she pictured the scene again, elaborating the image, drawing herself slow and deliberately onwards. The story that had begun in the café, the man sipping his coffee, the casual waiter, together they were moving her on deeper into an intense and unknown territory that was her own. Her eyes soon began to widen then close and open again gazing wild, open mouthed and breathing hard, then calming. The cracked and pockmarked ceiling the only witness to her trespass.

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