Small Talk. A short story.

He was a simple man. Said little. Only the things that needed to be said, so he wasn’t much for small talk. But he was here anyway, because she asked him to be. She talked a lot. He sat there patiently, talking to her about each other’s phone plans, his hiking, her work, the weather outside and how nice it was. His baritone voice complimented her high enthusiasm. The worn, faded blue cap he wore sat low over his brow, her tight long sleeve shirt accentuated her curves. A detail that did not go unnoticed by him, or any of the other men in the café. She brushed a few strands of auburn hair off of her face as she spoke about her family, he tilted his cap back, scratched at his receding hairline. She sat forward, he readjusted in his chair. He squinted his eyes against the slits of blinds feebly blocking out the glare of the sun, she huddled in her corner, the warm light at her back. She kept talking her small talk, taking over the conversation. She laughed, he smiled politely. He crossed his arms, as it was cold in the café. She didn’t seem to mind the chill, the conversation seemed to keep her energy high. She glanced at her phone, out of habit. He adjusted his cap, out of habit. She commented on how nice a day it was again, he nodded in agreement. They talked some more. She excused her herself to the ladies room. She offered him coffee before she left, he refused politely and agreed to watch her bag as she got up. The café was loud, people ordering, the baristas talking and one was singing. He sat there still, deep in thought, unmoving. He sat there, arms crossed, legs stretched out, staring out the window. He was used to the waiting. Someone might think he was asleep, his back to most of the patrons. She came back a few minutes later, her pretty face spoiled by a frown. She told him she was still waiting for the bathroom, someone spending too long a time in there. She made a joke about it, he chuckled. He wasn’t one to tell jokes. Still more small talk. Her olive skin barely revealed her age, the lines around her mouth creased ever so slightly as she laughed at another humorous quip she made. She ran her fingers through her shoulder length hair, as she sat down. The crinkles around his eyes folded as he smiled again. He played the conversation game well. She stirred the topic to about dogs. He shared with her a little about his own, and she shared her dislike with small dogs and their insistent yapping. She laughed, he smiled. She commented on the weather, about how warm and bright it was, suggesting that they might go somewhere, do something. There was a few seconds of silence. Finally he bit, and said he wasn’t much for being indoors anyway. She immediately agreed with a smile and got up. She walked out the door, him in tow.

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