As I entered the small coffee shop, I looked around for my friend, S. As I was looking through the shop for her, she called to me from the table where she was sitting, leaning back in her chair, purse in her lap.
“So, you want to order?"
S. stood up and joined me, and we walked up to the counter. I reflected on how although her face wasn’t really ingrained on my mind, I could immediately recognize her upon hearing her voice. Maybe I was developing…feelings for her? That could very well be it. But how would I let her know? I wasn’t blunt enough to just tell her. Besides, that was too serious of a topic of discussion. We were just here to have coffee and hang out. We ordered our drinks, and then went back to the table to chat and enjoy our coffee. Shortly afterwards, S. asked me how I was doing.
I responded, “I’m fine, but I’m having some problems in my English class.”
“What kinds of problems?”
“Well, I have to write five pages of non-fiction every week.”
“That’s too bad.”
“That’s not the real problem. It’s like the English department doesn’t think I’m good enough to write fiction. I mean, you’ve read my fiction, right?”
“And you think it’s good, right?”
“Yeah, I think so, too. But I’ve already written my stuff for this week, at least. I did a piece on the forest path between Chesley Drive and Faculty Road, and something on how loneliness and friendship are linked.”
“Yeah, basically about how I didn’t have any friends until I was thirteen and so I wasn’t lonely, but as soon as I made friends, I started to feel true loneliness. It’s like how to make a baby cry- you give him a lollipop and then take it away. But if he hadn’t had the lollipop, he wouldn’t have been crying.”
Just then, I realized how very deep this topic was. Almost too deep. This was supposed to be a time for relaxation, not for deep philosophical discussion. To signify this, I started gesturing with my arms in a method indicating that I was swimming upwards.
“Whoa, that’s a bit too deep,” I said, pretending to gasp for air. “So, how’s your family doing?”
“Well, I’m kind of worried about my aunt, with the hurricane in the Bahamas.”
“I don’t know the name of it.”
The truth was, neither did I. Hurricane Frances was just the last one I had heard of.
“Well, I’m sure your aunt will be fine.”
I couldn’t think of anything else to say, so I decided to shift the subject a bit closer to home.
“So, what kind of classes are you taking this semester?” I asked before finishing off my iced mocha caramel coffee.
“Politics in Society, Intro to Psychology, Anthropology, and Freshman English.”
“Sounds interesting. I really enjoyed Intro to Psych.”
“Who did you have?”
“Never heard of him.”
“You probably wouldn’t have. He’s a grad student, but he’s really nice. What class do you have today?”
Again, I couldn’t think of anything else to say. I remembered earlier that she had told me about her interest in Marvel comics, so I decided to steer the conversation in that direction.
“So, you like superheroes?”
“Marvel or DC?”
“Yeah. Do you read comic books?
That was a bit of an interesting question. I did indeed enjoy reading comic books sometimes, but they weren’t a regular hobby of mine. But I had been collecting Marvel trading cards since I was nine. However, most of them had long since vanished into the ether. I had only recently rediscovered a few of them, from series 2 and 3.
“I’m really more of a trading card person. I had all of Marvel series 2,” I replied.
“I like comic books. My sister had a lot of them.”
“Who’s your favorite superhero? I like the more obscure ones, like Iron Fist.”
“He’s a martial artist with the power to make his fists as hard as iron. Who do you like?”
“I like Storm.”
“Yeah, she’s cool. I also like the ones with no real superpowers, like Iron Man and Punisher.”
“They’re making a Punisher movie, you know.”
“Yeah, I know. Hey, if you were a superhero, what kind of powers would you have?”
“I’d be Storm.”
“I’d probably want psychic powers and flight.”
“I wouldn’t want psychic powers. Hearing people’s thoughts all the time would be kind of annoying.”
“I know. That’s why I’d want psychic powers that could be turned off. I’d also want to be able to control some element.”
“If I were Storm, I’d be able to control all the elements.”
“Not earth or fire. I’d probably want to control…lightning. I’m not sure what my superhero name would be, though. Probably…Shade.”
“I’d be El Nino. What does that mean?”
“Something to do with Jesus, I guess.”
“What would the feminine equivalent be?”
“El Nina, I guess.”
Actually, it would be something like La Nina, but I had forgotten that. Not that it mattered, though. Spanish wasn’t really my area of expertise.
“Then I’d probably be Tempest.”
“Actually, I might be Renard. French for fox. I like foxes.”
Just then, I remembered a theoretical project I had ideas for. Since S. was one of the few people who knew about it, and since she was a sort of part of it, I figured I’d tell her about my new idea for it.
“Hey, remember The Dragon Chronicles?” I asked
The Dragon Chronicles was a fantasy series I planned to write, featuring combined magic and technology. As the name implied, dragons were a major feature in it. One of the characters was loosely based on S., so I kept her up to date on it. However, since I’m more of a dreamer than a doer, the chances of me actually sitting down and writing it were slim to none.
“Yes,” she replied.
“I thought of a new character for that. She’s a sorceress who’s half-human, three-eighths elf, and one-eighth faerie. Her name is Elmina.”
“No, Elmina. E-L-M-I-N-A.”
“That’s a nice name.”
“Yeah. Hey, what do you plan to name your kids when you grow up?”
“I’m not sure. What about you?”
Actually, I had a whole list of potential names for my kids, but I couldn’t remember most of it. I could remember some, though.
"Probably Shana for a girl, or Garnet or Ashley for a boy.”
“Yes, it’s a unisex name, believe it or not. Your name is pretty high on my list, too. So are Sonja and Darcy." Actually, I had only mentioned the other two names since they were the names of two of S.’s older sisters.
“Wow, my whole family.”
“Well, actually, I didn’t put Kenny or Megan on the list. Not that I don’t like the names, they’re just a bit…ordinary.”
“Wow, you have a good memory.”
Actually, my memory was pretty random. I could easily remember things like the names and ages of my friends’ siblings, but I easily forgot things like family members’ birthdays and even what month it was. So, it felt weird being told that I had a good memory.
“Hey, I have my first class soon. Want to walk down with me?”
I was actually planning on asking the same thing, so I was pretty happy to be asked. “Sure. Let’s go. I just have to throw my cup out.” After doing so, Seija and I exited the coffee shop and set off towards Murkland Hall. As we walked, we talked about a few minor things, but I mostly thought about Seija. I was pretty sure that I loved her, but I didn’t know how to tell her. And what if she didn’t feel the same way about me. Besides, being platonic friends was enough at this time. At Murkland Hall, we parted after agreeing to meet each other again, then I headed home, feeling at least temporarily elated with my burden of loneliness lifted.