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October 11, 2013

The noise was horrendous. People don’t shut up, even when occupied with non-alcoholic drinks. Brent sat on a table against the wall; he faced the queue waiting to be served. The café was the typical cream walled open room with brown wooden tables and skirting boards; blocky pillars stretched upwards and connected with the low ceiling. They too matched the surrounding colour scheme. Steady yet irritating music played on the overhead speakers; it couldn’t quite drown out the raucous sound of thirty odd people talking endlessly about their lives. A baby cried in a little section behind him. More people poured in from both doors, one of which was situated behind him a few tables away, the other at the end of the room near the counter. There where now at least forty people in the shop. It’s amazing how one can feel lonely in a crowd, Brent pondered, as he took a sip of his Mocha; a chill ran over his back each time the rear door opened. It was early October and the autumn air crept through the café like a hoard of ghosts passing through a graveyard. There were only a few other people who sat on their own, one was an average looking blond girl in a blue woollen pullover who flicked through a magazine. Another was a middle-aged man with greying hair and spectacles which he wore in like a teacher; they rested midway on the bridge of his nose. Maybe he’s an English teacher. Brent mused to himself, trying not to stare too frequently. The blond girl had now left, leaving the table bare and neglected. For a while now, at a table diagonally in front of his, a younger girl, possibly in her mid-twenties, had been yapping on about her boyfriend and various menial events from her life. Her harsh voice spurted stories at a hundred miles per hour at the couple she sat with, although she did of course ask questions too; but with the same grating tone. Brent gathered she hadn’t seen them in a while. They were softer spoken, forced to listen to this girl constantly talk and talk. Brent winced every time she yelped an “Oh my God!” or “Oh that’s really cute”. How do people learn to talk like that?! A nineties song played on the overhead now. The trio started to leave, the harsh voice was about to fade away; but it didn’t matter. He was still going to go through with it, and in a few minutes, things were going to change indefinitely. Brent felt good, there was nothing that needed to be done anymore, and everyone had something, someone, or simply a place to be. He heard it all around him, though muffled, so many stories, so many lives. They surrounded him, spoke to him, and attacked him. A Barista paced around the room, she carefully collected used mugs and plates from the abandoned tables. Everybody was content: the people sat happily together, or alone reading their books or newspapers. Couples playfully held hands, resting them on the table tops. Business men and woman studied documents together. Everything was in its right place; all except Brent. That was going to change. The mixed sound waves hammered at his eardrum, his brain struggled to decipher the inaudible mess of conversations. It was time. Brent took one last sweep of the room, taking in the young and old, the loud and quiet, the happiness. He picked up his mug and saucer with one hand, and a plastic wrapper and some used napkins with the other. With his left foot he pushed the chair neatly under the table. Navigating through the sea of the up and moving customers he dropped the wrapper and napkins into the bin, then placed the china on the till counter. Without looking back he pulled the door open and stepped out into the cold afternoon. The voices in the coffee room faded as the door closed softly behind him; but now the wider world began its taunting racket. He tried to ignore it as he took a few steps to the curb. Traffic buzzed back and forth, passing him at near illegal speeds; behind him, people where doing much the same thing, only they talked and talked about the same problems and life events as the café goers he’d left behind. Brent closed his eyes to let it in further; he needed the push, the anger… the sadness. A bus turned the corner on the right, it moved at a substantial speed towards him. He opened his eyes slightly and caught sight of it, gauging the distance. He closed his eyes again. “So much noise” he said quietly to himself and calmly stepped out onto the road.


From → a. Short Stories

  1. “It’s amazing how one can feel lonely in a crowd.” Many writers say this. Always the good ones, observers of life. Don’t be down about it. It’s part of the craft 🙂

    • Well that’s good to know, I wont let the “Good Ones” bit go to my head though just in case 🙂 Thanks for reading btw!

      • I was intrigued 🙂 It’s hard to tell where it’s going. You know the snap is about to happen, but in which direction… Me likes 🙂

      • Thank you 🙂

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