Cheyana's Roads

   

She was clearly a local. She said nothing to the tall, thin man behind the counter. He was busy with a short line of customers, but he looked up at her. She smiled, he nodded and held up 5 fingers, mouthing “5 minutes”. Anyone looking towards the front door would have noticed her when she walked into the All City Coffeehouse. Sharp clothes and gorgeous face.

She turned and looked outside, giving a wave to a man doing a little dance as he crossed the street. A member of the large contingent of Seattle’s homeless, he bounced step by step, walking on his toes. He never took more than 4 or 5 steps without twirling a full circle. She watched him walk across the busy street and down the block until he was out of view. The last thing she saw him do was spread his arms straight out from his side, hands and fingers extended east and west. Under her breath she said, “Bye Jonathan, my strange, most curious seagull.”

She turned away from the window when the coffemaker called to her, “Cheyana, here you go.”

She walked back to the counter, fishing money our of her jeans pocket. “Thanks, Kevin.”

“Sure thing” he said, as he stuffed the bills in the old fashioned cash register. “See Bill up there?”

She was halfway through her turn towards the door. Her head swiveled back violently, first turning up to the loft, then to Kevin, then to the loft again. Did he really say Bill? “How long has he been here?”

“All morning. Must have had 10 grande hot chocs.”

“I didn’t know he was out, how long has he been back?”

Kevin was now working on another order. He turned away from the expresso machine and leaned over the counter towards Cheyana so as not to yell, “Dunno. Same ole Billy Boy, not too free with the personal information. We had a nice hug when he came in, ‘nice to see ya’ and all that, then he marched upstairs with his first cup and his laptop. I’ve been taking him a new one every half-hour or so and he’s barely said anything more than ‘thanks’.”

"He did ask me about you though".

She turned away from the counter, moving over to the window, keeping her eyes from the loft as she moved across the shop. The All City Coffeehouse was located on a corner, so it had windows on two sides. Picture frame windows on the front and huge, two story windows on the side. She stood in front of one of these windows and stared at the Seattle skyline. Her eyes were turned up towards the clock tower, but she only saw behind her.

7 years ago, Memorial Day. Cheyana and 3 girlfriends were spending the holiday weekend at the Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park. It was one of the red letter times of her life, highlighted by the Saturday night on the lake’s edge.

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They were sitting in a semi circle, in the lodge’s Adirondack chairs on a short bank overlooking the lake. The view was majestic, green hills rising above the water on both sides of the lake, pushing into wisps of fog. But the view was even more stimulating about 10 feet from where they sat. The next group of chairs was occupied by a group of guys, slightly older than Cheyana and her friends. Each of these men, laughing and joking over their beers, were remarkably good looking.

And there was one, standing behind the chairs, with a darker complexion, that stood out. Cheyana thought he was gorgeous. Classic baby faced features, pure, soft and subtle. Strong neck leading down to a stronger upper body. His muscular arms with that beautiful skin, hands stuck in the pockets of his shorts. She kept trying to get a good look at him, but each time she looked his way, he was looking at her.

Then, after 3 years of the most intense romantic relationship of her life: the phone call from Billy at the Tacoma police station; the trial; Billy refusing to see her when she came to visit him in prison. And now, after she’d gotten to the point where she didn’t think of him each minute, then each day, and finally, her life came back to her; now, here he was, closer to her than she ever thought he would be again.

The clock tower struck 1pm. That made her smile, she even allowed herself a quiet chuckle. “Yea” she thought, “it’s just me”. She turned away from Seattle and looked at the stairs leading up to the loft. She couldn’t decide if climbing those stairs would be a struggle, or would she float up?

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