Poco a Poco (Ma Non Troppo)

Emily jumped visibly every time the store’s electric door chime sounded.

Jesus, relax already, Nikki said. He probably won't even come in today.

Roger Greenwood had been coming into the store every morning for several weeks now to order a cup of coffee and then stand at the counter chatting amiably about himself and the many things he knew. This fascinated Emily, who came from a place where people took care to either not know too much or to conceal that knowledge.

She'd never met anyone who made their living as a composer, even if most of it sounded like someone trying to remember a long-forgotten hymn while kittens ran back and forth across the keys. But Berkeley was turning out to be full of people engaged in pursuits she either hadn’t heard of or wouldn't have thought viable.

Roger held his spot at the counter with one boney elbow and one hand propped against his oversized head. Occasionally his long fingers would trace an unheard passage on the counter while he spoke. Eventually he'd say something like, “Well, I’ll let you get back to work,” even though Emily hadn't stopped working the entire time.

Nikki was less charmed by the daily performance. He’s a glorified piano teacher, she’d say after he left. Emily knew Roger was basically full of it. All the same, the effort he put into impressing her was very flattering.

What she couldn't figure out on this cringey Monday was why she had agreed to drive down to Half Moon Bay with him the weekend before. On the upside, she now knew that she was allergic to mussels and that she hated grappa. What bothered her was that she wasn’t sure what happened after Roger kindly yet graspingly helped her out of the car and up to her apartment.

1 comment:

Nickised.com/tv/ said...

had me going; in a second i was back at the silverball on telegraph, poppin quarters and bangin pinball...runnin down 1 past half moon bay past santa cruz to moss landing and drinking like pigs at the whole enchilada...

young women and wiley ol men. it's what makes the world go round.