At least the coffee was hot. It tasted like dirt and had the texture of slime. But it was hot. The girl sipped hers and occasionally stirred in another cube of sugar.
“What’s your name?” I asked her eventually. I didn’t expect her to answer.
“Same as yours”
“Joseph? But that’s a guy’s name!”
I took a large slug of my coffee and grunted, coughing up most of it. That was some coffee. Girl Joseph drained the last of her coffee and began to crumble the sugar cubes between her thumb and forefinger.
“If it’s easier just call me Jo. With no E”
I nodded absentmindedly and she moved onto opening all the salt packets and pouring them onto the table.
“I’ve seen the Door too” she announced without flair. If I was just listening to the tone of her voice I would’ve thought she was asking me to her funeral.
“Well done” I replied, piling on the sarcasm, “we have all seen doors” Fool, I called her in my head thinking that this poor girl was two sandwiches short of a picnic.
She regarded me with distain as if I were the idiot. The thought of it!
“Not just any door, but The Door. Mine’s blue and seeing as my hair is red your door must be red too am I right?”
The red Door. How did she know? I most certainly never told anyone what plagued me during the night and haunted me during the day.
“How-how did you know?” I didn’t see the point in putting up pretence. She knew and nothing I could say would change her mind.
She continued speaking as if I hadn’t said anything; “It’s the same door for everyone y’know. Just a different colour…” she paused, reflecting, “I have no idea why of course. I was hoping you would have some clue”
I sat back in my chair and rubbed my shock of blue hair. Blue hair, blue door. Red hair, red door. Good grief. My mobile came to life vibrating in my pocket saving me from thinking for a few minutes. It was Claudine. I pressed the green button.
“Hey” I said keeping my voice even. Hopefully it wouldn’t betray too much.
“Where are you Joseph? I need a hug” Her voice was heavy with tears.
“Um, I’m kinda busy right now…”
“Where are you?”
“The Jolt, but listen-”
“I’ll be there in ten minutes”
I cursed under my breath. I was really getting sick of all this Claudine stuff. It was like she was permanently on PMS.
“Look, my girlfriend is going to be here in ten minutes” I checked my watch, “nine minutes. Just tell me what you’re going to do…Jo”
She calmly opened a mini-packet of ketchup and squirted it onto the salt and sugar. Using her finger she mixed the three substances up and licked it off her fingers.
“Still dating Claudine?”
“How do you know her name?”
“I used to date a Claudine, same name and everything just lacking the genitally. I dumped him. I guess me and you are more different than I first thought”
The longer I talked to Jo the more I felt I didn’t know anything at all. She was confusing me. One of the reasons I decided not to go to University was because I thought I knew it all. Emphasis on knew. Now I’m not so sure.
She saw my puzzled face and decided to throw me a lifeboat. I think I would’ve rather drowned.
“I’m you idiot”