• Dina

Crossing Paths

Cara was running into Lauren for the fifth time this month. Apparently, this city wasn’t crowded enough to avoid running into the same person again and again. No missed connections because you most likely haunt the same place.

Talk to her. Cara urged herself.

It had been at least six months since Lauren and Cara followed each other on Instagram. The two ran in similar circles. Similar enough to keep running into each other.

Come on. Just do it.

Cara watched as Lauren settled into the table across from her in the crowded coffee shop. The smell of fresh brewed coffee and chai filled the air. When Lauren walked in, Cara had hoped she’d be spared this awkward situation but somehow the universe decided that the only available space in the entire shop was right across from Cara, so they’d be forced to make eye contact in sporadic intervals.

Does she recognize me? I obviously recognize her.

Picking up her coffee cup with the utmost forced grace, Cara flicked her dark eyes up, meeting Lauren’s icy blues. Quickly, she looks down into the remnants of the barista’s latte art in her cup. Cara had no problem talking it up with the employees here who knew her by name, but Lauren was an enigma. She was effortlessly cool and existed on a plane of her own. At least, by Cara’s assumptions.

Just introduce yourself. Stop being weird.

* * *

An hour goes by, Lauren has been busying herself, trying to update her website. It was pride month and she wanted to contribute to the community by sharing her own story but it had been impossible to write with Cara sitting across from her.

Maybe I should introduce myself.

This had to be the tenth time they’ve run into each other. Lauren could not read her. After every paragraph, she couldn’t help but pause and look up.

I probably seem like a creep.

The first time they ran into each other, Cara had walked off before Lauren could say anything since then, Lauren had assumed that Cara didn’t care much for her, but that didn’t hold true on Instagram. In fact, the two had reached out to each other on multiple occasions. Responding to, and liking each other’s content. So why is it every chance we have to introduce ourselves it seems as though she shies away?

* * *

Cara takes stock of her outfit; shorts and a cropped sweatshirt. She felt confident leaving home, but in front of someone so stylish, she couldn’t put herself out there looking like this.

Maybe next time.

Feeling tired and defeated by her recent piece, Cara decided she was done writing for the day. After packing up, she takes a quick trip to the bathroom, careful not to look in Lauren’s direction. Coming back, the first thing she notices is that Lauren is gone. Without realizing it, she relaxes her shoulders and heaves a sigh. Going back to her table, to collect her bags, there’s a folded piece of paper tucked under her empty cup. This wasn’t there before.

Nervous but too curious for her own good, Cara quickly picks up the note, not even taking care not to knock the cup over. She unfurls the paper and reads:

I hope this isn’t creepy, but let’s get coffee together soon.

The note was from her, and next to her name was a phone number.

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