The Allan Bros. Beanery on Hilyard Street bustles with the grinding of a coffee maker, whirs of a blender, and beeping of a toaster. Eclectic music and the loud chatter of the constant stream of customers blend into a continuous cacophony of noise. The smell of coffee beans wafts through the air, along with the faint smell of cheese from someone’s sandwich.
The bright sun bounces off the yellow walls and tiles of the small shop, creating a warm, happy glow, but a burst of crisp air rushes in every time the door opens. The paintings of flowers by local artists hanging on the walls and quaint wooden booths create the feel of an intimate, small-town coffee shop. Customers forget that they are in a strip mall on a busy street next to a Burrito Amigos.
A man and a woman in their mid-twenties sit across from each other at a table, having an awkward first date after meeting on the Internet. The woman has a large neck tattoo and wears a snug, bright blue sweater and green scarf. The man sports long, unkempt brown hair and a baggy gray Oregon sweatshirt.
“I was kind of skeptical about myself and you,” the woman says. “It just took me a minute to kind of process. Being impulsive, I didn’t really question. That’s what I was trying to think, like to find you, I don’t even know. I was like, maybe I should come.”
“Yeah, it’s crazy,” the man adds unenthusiastically. His body language is turned away from her. His legs are crossed and his arms are folded as he occasionally fiddles with his empty cup. His eyes constantly wander around the shop.
“I wasn’t worried you were going to put me in the trunk of your rental car or something. It would make for a really good story though,” the woman says, nervously laughing.
The woman starts to say something else, but the man wanders away to throw out his cup, not listening. He then wanders to talk to someone else he knows at the other end of the shop while the woman fidgets at their table, unsure of what to do. When the man returns, they exit the shop together as the woman says, “Imagine if we were in the Midwest, there’d be no recycling!”
In the parking lot, they hug goodbye, and the woman holds on too long as the man continues to give her the “hug’s over” pat. The woman keeps talking as the man fiddles with his keys and backs away from her. Even though he is getting in his car and has stopped making eye contact, the woman still talks to him. She finally ambles away as he immediately starts up his white Nissan and escapes out of the parking lot. Solemnly standing next to her car, she watches him speed out of the driveway. For once, she is silent.