Daily Prompt: Release Me

Prompt from here.

Thin smoke swam out of the Verona blend resting on the low coffee table even long after it was served by the bushy-haired barista. The rich scent oozed out of the wood-covered cafe, pleasing a certain brunette woman of twenty-three sitting by that particular table.

Sighing in the couch across her: a bright-looking young man in his navy blue blazer. In front of him, a good old espresso shot.  Their voices were low and their words much less many compared to the other tables, but for some reason there was no invisible “Top Secret” signage blinking on top of their heads. It was more like a silence iced with a pair of awkward smiles and two sets of bright-coloured eyes looking at each other, making an unexplainably peculiar atmosphere in the furthest corner.

‘Thank you for coming here on such a short notice,’ she started with a smile.

The man wanted to keep out of anything that’s not his business, but rashness got the better of him. So instead of replying with a nonchalant “no problem”, he blurted out something that he wanted to stay away from in the first place.
‘Is it true that you resigned?’

Her eyebrow raised, she then chuckled in amusement.
She hadn’t seen him like that in a long time.
‘Why, news travel fast!’

He frowned.
Apparently he was one of the last people to know.

The same smile hadn’t left her face. ‘It was no gossip, if that’s what you’re asking. I will be out of the office in a month,’ she sighed, ‘but it’s not what I want to talk to you about.’ His expression couldn’t be translated to any other words but ‘What do you mean?’.

Alas! In whatever way she could imagine, there was no good way to start the topic! Nevertheless, she gave it a try.

‘First of all, I want to thank you.’ An apparent confusion pounded inside the young man’s head, making his brows furrowed. She had a hard time resisting the urge to flick his forehead. ‘Please don’t make that face. You look like I just crashed your car and left it in the ditch.’

He didn’t budge.

Her gaze laid upon the coffee for a few good seconds before the same practiced answer came out.

‘I want to be happy.’

He did not understand.
He could not understand.
She didn’t think he would – ever.
She knew he couldn’t.
Because he was just that type of person.
And she was that other type of person.

‘Are you not happy now?’ he asked again.

A sad smile crept across her face as if trying to answer without having to voice it out loud.
At that moment, he knew it was futile to ask further.
So he changed the question.

‘What makes you happy?’

She looked at him.
And she kept looking at him.

He blinked.

At that moment, he knew it was the wrong question.
So he stopped asking.

That was the first and the last time he saw her crying.




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