“I couldn’t believe it man. I went home with this chick last night. Yeah, no not her. God, not her! No this other girl. She was a waitress at some classy Mexican place. So I’m chatting to her, giving her the lines. End up going home with her. The bitch steals my fucking watch! Can you fucking believe that? My two thousand dollar watch” he said, turning around and checking the line in the coffee shop. I put my headphones back in. I couldn’t listen to that shit right now. I couldn’t listen to any shit right now.
The place was packed out as usual. I didn’t even really know why I was here. Their coffee was pretty awful. It was like drinking it from a well designed cardboard cup made it taste sensational. But I guess to most of the people in here that did make it taste sensational. I just wanted somewhere warm to sit down. Tomorrow would mark my first anniversary with L.A. They don’t like to tell you that it gets cold here. The sun never stops shining but touching the trunk of a palm tree with gloves on is a weird sensation.
I’d left the house angry that morning. Dillon didn’t come home again last night. I had a message waiting for me in the morning.
“Wont b home till the mornin. Stupid party 2 go 2. Cud b important tho x.”
It woke me up. I read it when I was half awake. I fell back asleep without remembering what it said. When I woke up I checked it again. I remembered that I got something sent to me. I remembered that it was from him. After I read it, I got up and cried.
The house was so cold. I didn’t know how to work the heating. Dillon always did that. That was what I got angry about. That he wasn’t there to turn on the heater. Isn’t that stupid? I threw a big scarf around me, picked up my keys and slammed the door. It was a sort of automatic choice to come here. My eyes watched the traffic, not the road. I didn’t become aware of where I was until that asshole in front of me in the line started shouting into his phone. I wanted to take his phone away from his ear and throw it against the wall. As the music blasted into my ears and wrapped me up I looked around the place. Across from me, on the other side of the little coffee making island, there was a line of people sat with their computers. Six Mac back lights shone across. They were busy at work. Working at something. Facebook most likely.
“Good morning Heather. How are you today?” I smiled. I kept my sunglasses on. I never kept them on when I spoke to people. Mom always told me not to. What can I get for you?” said the woman behind the counter.
“A tall skinny latte please.” I said, looking at the menu. I always got the same thing.
“Okay, just a few minutes. We’re really busy today.”
I smiled and looked around again. The place was full and the line was longer than the DSS. It was like the DSS for people that actually had money but desperately needed something to spend it on. I used to try to deny that I fell firmly into that bracket. I felt my phone vibrate in my hand. I looked down. It was Dillon.
“Where r u baby? Sorry I didnt cum home lst nite. Stupid fuckin party, I’ll tell u all about it.”
I put my phone on vibrate. I put it in my bag. I zipped up my bag. I put my headphones back in. I looked around for somewhere to sit. The turnover for the seats outside was always slow at this time of year. It seemed like everyone here moved here for the weather like I did. I recognized a lot of people in the place. There was a time when Dillon and I came in here every morning. I would come in to work. He would just grab a coffee and head off to his studio. A couple of people saw me and smiled. I smiled back a little. I pulled my scarf a little tighter around myself and started looking at the cute little cupcakes they sold. I looked at them every morning. They always looked so good. But I’d never tried one.
“Your skinny Latte Heather!” said this guy. I always used to curse myself for not remembering his name.
“Thanks” I said. As soon as I picked it up, I felt the warmth come through my hands. It wasn’t as warm as I hoped it would be. I walked over to the sugar desk. That asshole in front of me was standing there. He had the biggest coffee cup they sold. Of course he would. I just stood with my cup and waited for him to leave. I watched that asshole pick up his jug of coffee and strut out like a god or something. He looked like he worked in film or TV or film or something. He had that aura about him. You’d have to wipe your hand after you shook his. That kind of guy. I walked over and poured in the sugar and looked for a table outside in the little courtyard by the boulevard. LA always looked warm, even when it was freezing. Palm trees and sunshine bleach out the jackets and gloves. I saw a table free up, so I rushed out, dipping my head as I walked out against the blast of cold air.