R. Keith is the author of more than twenty collections of fiction, poetry and vispo.

His visual art has been presented in galleries in Canada, Malta and Russia.

     Every time you go to Jitters Cafe she is there. She probably doesn't even notice you but you try not to gawk at her from over your laptop as you pretend to be working. When you watch her ask for the key from one of the baristas and head for the washroom you wait for her to come out and go back to her table where she left her latte. You head over to the counter and ask for the key. In the washroom you sit on the toilet seat she warmed up for you just moments ago. You rip the last square of toilet paper off the roll and rub it between your thumb and fingers. You don't actually need the toilet. This is the closest you'll get to her. In the sink there are tiny bubbles of foam from her washing her hands. Your fingers caress each other, massaging the soap with all ten digits. You glance at the paper towel in the garbage can and tell yourself you won't be able to decipher which were the ones she used and which weren't. Your hand embraces the handle of the bathroom door as you gently graze your finger tips against the light switch in case she also had her hands on it slightly before. Back at your table, another look as she brings the cup to her lips. You look away, out the window. You watch someone peel the bumper sticker off the car parked in front of the cafe. You didn't get a chance to read what the sticker said. You try not to notice her saunter over to the counter again and buy a bottle of water and ask for the key again. You get up yourself and stand outside the washroom. Someone comes out of the other washroom and tries to hand the key off to you and you shake your head. You didn't notice the person behind you also waiting to use the toilet. They turn their head back and raise an eyebrow at you as they open the door and disappear into the other washroom. That's when the door you're in front of opens and the tips of your fingers touch hers which are still wet. You couldn't muster up the courage to look her in the eyes. In the washroom, the toilet seat is up.  She must of been fiddling with her hair and make up. You didn't get the chance to notice her, all dolled up for you. You pick some of the hairs out of the sink and shove them in your pocket. Another grip of the door's handle and stroke of the light switch. Back at your table, she is outside the cafe, in front of the car you saw getting the bumper sticker swiped. At the table she was sitting at you see the lipstick stain on her cup and press it up against your mouth, drinking the remains of her latte. The next best thing to making out with her. You watch her pour out the bottle of water and pour in white rum she took out of her jacket pocket. She downs what doesn't fit in the water bottle, sets the empty rum bottle on the side walk and opens the car door and drives off as the last swig her latte comes out your nose. You don't even need to ask for the key, the barista just hands it to you. In the washroom you look at yourself in the mirror and think maybe you'll stop coming to this cafe. Wash your hands and face, throw the strands of hair in the garbage. Back at your table you see an older man lugging an orange garbage bag full of empty bottles pick the empty rum bottle off the sidewalk. You think, they can have your sloppy seconds.

© 2020 The Indie's Nest

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