Posted by: victanguera | July 26, 2009

Exercise #29

Vivian sat behind the counter, chin resting on her clasped hands, and watched the nearly deserted coffee shop. All the table tops gleamed in the sunlight after she’d spent the better part of this afternoon cleaning.  A few young girls, their laughter sounding like overanxious sparrows, sat at a table in one corner. She wished she could be part of a group like that.

“You look sad,” Anthony said. A squeak escaped Vivian before she could stop it. She had been so absorbed watching the girls she hadn’t heard her boss approach. Not wanting to share her thoughts with him, Vivian shook her head. “I suppose you wish you could spend time with them.”

“Not really. I just wondered what they find so amusing. Sometimes I like observing people.”

Anthony nodded, and a slight blush coloured his face. He turned away from her, lining bottles up on the counter behind her.

“You remind me of my great-grandmother,” he said without looking at her. Anthony’s unexpected statement made Vivian’s eyes widen. Staring at his back gave her no clues to his thoughts.

“Oh,” she said, wondering if the answer to her questions could be found that simply.

“I only met her once. I was really young, but you move like her.” Vivian knew in that instant that Anthony watched her from the back, and a deep sense of disquiet invaded her. At least he still stood with his back to her, giving her time to compose herself. “And you look very much like her pictures.”

His words drowned out the laughter of the girls in a blanket of white noise and she couldn’t quite digest what he’d said. Shaking her head, Vivian tried to appear calm and unruffled, but her insides churned. A clue to her family’s whereabouts might be within her grasp.

“My family was from here originally. Maybe they were related,” Vivian said, willing him to tell her his great-grandmother’s name in the hopes she knew her. It hurt inside knowing that she would now be dead.

“I’m sorry. I’ve made you uncomfortable,” Anthony said. He fussed again with the perfectly arranged bottles.

“It’s okay,” she said. Although it upset her, the need for answers overwhelmed Vivian’s sense of disquiet that he spied on her. “What was her name?”

“It doesn’t really matter. She’s been gone a long time and it is all in the past now anyway.” Anthony disappeared into the back, leaving Vivian with nothing but unease.


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