She came each day, bought the same magazine, with the same cup of coffee. He knew because he could smell it, mixed in with her perfume as she leant to take her change. She wouldn't even glance at him, instead at the headlines of the latest break-up. He would smile at her, which would then turn to a saddened gaze as he watched her pencil-skirt walk away. He could imagine her heels clicking long after she turned the corner. She always came at the same time. 7:43 exactly. And the one time she didn't, she didn't come at all.
He looked as far as his eyes could reach, yearning to smell that coffee mixed perfume. But as he closed the shutters of his little stall, he knew that she wasn't coming that day.
She appeared the next morning though, at 7:43. He smiled extra as he saw her approach. And it was that, which spurred him to speak to her.
"Didn't get your magazine yesterday, almost made me broke." He joked.
But she only raised her eyebrows to acknowledge him and walked away.
The next day, he gave her the wrong change, to see if she'd notice. But she didn't, and he was forced to call out to her. She only took it with another raised eyebrow.
He spent the day contemplating, trying to find a way for her to notice him. Yet he would always stare into the adjacent window, and eye the reflection bouncing back. A balding head, short stubby legs that matched the rest of him. The only thing he couldn't see was the eyes. The eyes that he was sure would captivate the woman's interest. If only she would look.
So each day he would try and hold her attention as he passed the changed to her hand. A few times he'd attempt to engage her. Commenting on the weather, asking how she was, pointing out the latest marriage. But she'd only just raise her eyebrows in acknowledgement, and walk away.
Then one day, she didn't appear in the morning. He began to doubt she ever would as the day wore on, but at lunchtime she appeared. Just like in the mornings, heels clicking, the cup of coffee the same.
"Can't miss out on the finest news?" He laughed a little as he said that.
She didn't raise her eyebrows though. "Why do you talk to me?" Her voice was covered in a harsh sweetness, one that she could not hide even in anger.
"I thought it might be nice."
"Well, it's not. All I want to do is come and buy my magazine. I don't like small talk." And she looked straight at him, right into his eyes. He knew her eyes were gazing at his, and he could nothing but gaze at hers. Then she broke the gaze and turned away, her heels clicking.
She didn't come the next morning, nor the day after. A week passed until she came again, heels clicking, coffee in hand. A different man stood at the counter. She asked where the other man was. Something about too many sleeping pills.