Tell me how it all began, she asked again
as she paused, spoon over cup,
dripping coffee unseen.
She turned to look into the night
street lights dancing in her eyes
and laughed, not at something I said –
I said nothing at all, nothing of consequence –
perhaps it was someone at another table
or maybe she was laughing at the thoughts in her head
she did that, from time to time.
The cafe’s jazz played on, sugar-laced,
stepping surefooted across curling smoke,
and I knew then that I would not tell her
what she wanted to hear,
that I would keep watching her watching the street
plying her with dressed up desserts and coffees and easy smiles,
feeding myself on vain hopes that she would not slip away,
slip out into the night (though I knew she would, one day).
No, I would not tell her the story she wanted to hear,
nothing of the easy nights we’d spend together,
or the hard days, youthful angst tearing at our hearts.
I would not say that from the beginning, it was already ending,
that her path and mine had already begun, over coffee,
their wide divergence.