Tina Henriksson

A nervousness overwhelms her as soon as she looks up from the newspaper she is flickering through with a distracted and caffeine affected mind, to find that he — the new guy — is just about to start his shift. As just mentioned, her mind is scattered, which makes her particularly unprepared for the punch. Even though she has been aware of the possibility of him showing up, the intensity of the change in atmosphere now that he is present, surprises her and forces her to take a deep breath in an aim to control the rising tension as their eyes briefly meet across the space between them (she sits at a table in front of the window facing Finowstraße and he is behind the bar counter across from her). She keeps breathing deep and watches him receiving what she assumes are instructions about something regarding the tables by his colleague who’s shift just ended, while (as he is listening to the information) he is taking of his jacket.

She had hoped that he would work the evening shift tonight, but now she feels more bothered than excited to be exposed to his direct attractiveness. His beauty makes her unpleasantly aware of herself; of her every movement and how she comes across in general. She can no longer be just casual. From this moment on, she will be aware of every single move she makes; how her eyes wander across the paper in front of her, how she smiles or not smiles, how she has got a great posture even when seated and how her diaphragm subtly expand and contract with every breath she takes. At this point she is cursing the magnitude of her presence; physical and beyond. She hopes that he finds her body language gracious and intriguing and that her whole appearance will make him curious. Not only is her move no longer casual, but her speech will be far from casual too. She admits to herself that she will not be able to chat with him, and come to think of it she smiles. How could she converse with him when she seemingly cannot even turn her head in his direction? She has already thought about him while pleasing herself, and she wonders as she is sitting there pretending to read, if he somehow can feel her desire. Is it obvious? Does she metaphysically, involuntarily communicate that she has fantasies about orgasming with him? Does he know? And how long until her heart rate goes back to normal? She promises herself that she will not walk up to order with him until the nervousness cools off.

When he after a little while comes to clear her table, he smiles at her and they exchange a few sentences of the common greeting kind “Hallo, wie geht’s? Gut, danke, und dir?” as he picks up the empty coffee cup which she has placed at the corner of the table, and she feels almost as if she has been caught, as if her intention is revealed.

Some time passes by and no new orders are placed. Eventually she gets up to pay and leave the café. She is having dinner with a couple of friends and she is not running late, for a change. A calmness has entered her mind and created a quite wonderful ambience, she registers, in the interplay between her, the venue and this incredibly handsome man who is just about to walk behind the counter with some dirty dishes. They meet mid way towards their common destination. He says something in German (with a tone she interpret as a kind cheekiness) that she does not fully pick up but understands inquiries what she wants and she chuckles moderately while telling him that she would like to pay. He leaves the dishes by a sink behind the counter and trows a quick glance at her table (which her belongings still occupy), then checks the computer, now standing opposite her, and looks up with a facial expression that indicates he is not sure what she has had, and before he asks, she explains that she had “Ein Cappuccino auf mit Hafermilch und ein Bananabrot”. He nods to confirm that he has got that. Then follows a few seconds of silence where he is adding up the cost and she fingers through the notes and coins in her wallet while waiting for the number. It just became interesting, she acknowledges while centering herself, and the cooled off nervousness transforms into a thrill. “Fymf, viersig”, he tells her and she reaches him a ten euro note, “sechs”, bitte. He takes the money, mumbles “danke” and smiles at her. When he returns her change, two two-euro coins, he drops them slowly in her hand and she notices his finger nails have got some worn off black nail polish to them that probably has been there for at least a couple of weeks (maybe even a month), and she is pleasantly startled by what is going on: Here and now both their gazes go from observing his fingers touching the palm of her hand (yes, they really meant to touch her) when leaving her the coins, to meeting each other (she still feels his fingers on her skin) with an intensity demonstrating that this moment is not only elastic to her but to him as well. Wow. He is gorgeous. To a first appearance his grey, almond shaped eyes seem rather unexceptional, yet in this instant they manage to altogether fixate her. The two strangers observe one another in silence and both wonder what will come next. She does nothing. Or, she tries to stay present. He takes back his hand but holds her gaze. The curiosity is definitely there. He is also inspecting this encounter. She cannot help but to silently laugh, just a bit, when thanking him and biding him ‘by for now’. She leaves the café blessing the tension between them, asking herself what just happened and thinking about it all the way to the restaurant where she about fifteen minutes later, meets up with her friends. She wonders what his name is and she decides that the next time he is working, she will ask him: “Wie heißt du?”. But only if the situation allows for it. She has to make out a way of how to finally talk to him — casually, more than placing an order and telling him that she is ready to pay.