my Muse, Lily Christianson

I stride into the café, and I’m not disappointed.

Lily Christianson sits atop one of the high stools, alone and without even a drink. As I approach she looks up and smiles, and asks how I’ve been.

“Not as good as I was until now, Lily,” I answer. “Can I get you anything?”

She blushes a shy smile, murmuring her small desire for a vanilla chai tea. Of course, I happily oblige.

And of course, I order a tall black double for myself. The cashier and barista both know my face, and had my drink ready the moment I stepped to the register. Lily’s, though, threw them off. So, too, did my choice of seating: not at the window, as per usual. That’s why they gave me such odd looks when I took the two drinks to the stools where Lily sat.

Lily noticed, too, and asked why the pair had given such strange glances.

“I’m messing with the regular,” I reply.

She posed another question, asking what ‘the regular’ was.

“Well,” I start, “I get this drink here: a black coffee with two sugars. Always tall, always in a ceramic mug, to stay.”

We both glanced momentarily at the cups on the table, matching mugs with steaming contents.

“And I always sit alone at the window, with my laptop, so I can gaze out the window when not writing.” I pause and laugh. “I guess I’m almost always writing, here.”

Lily laughs, too, and tells me I still am.

My laughing ceases abruptly, and I glance back down to the table. The two matched mugs are there, steaming, but so is a cream-coloured napkin, covered in black ink chicken-scratchings.

“Huh,” I sigh. I look at my hand and see a pen in it, cap secured at its base.

She then continues by saying that I’m always writing when she’s around, but she doesn’t mind, really. It shows dedication to my craft, my art, and she likes that.

I stop to think in silence before answering.

“You’re my muse, then, it seems.”

We both smile, and Lily laughs a little.

“You going to drink that?” I ask before bringing my own steaming mug to my mouth. I sip at the hot coffee, indulging in the twin tastes of bitter- and sweetness. She lifts her own mug and drinks, closing her eyes as she does so, the steam washing over her face.

A silence passes between us as we sip at our drinks, but I’m still strangely content. I am content because I am with her, I am with Lily Christianson, and we are sharing this moment together.

But as always, I long for more.

“Shall we go out, Lily?”

She nods and stands, slipping her crimson coat over her shoulders.

I take our empty mugs to the counter and leave them there, thanking the girls as I go. Lily’s hand slips into mine, and I swear I taste vanilla on my lips.

And then suddenly, she’s gone.

The End

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