Submitted by Writer on Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:51

     It had been quite some time since Judeikis had been out & about--besides his classes, of course, and as soon as he exited his studio apartment, he felt his flesh bore with goosebumps due to the chill of the early-morning weather. Mildly displeased, but not irritated, he continued down the street, happily letting the rays of the sun illuminate his cheeks, warming him. He intended to grab a fresh cup of hot chocolate at the cafe, soon after going to visit a bookstore a friend of his had recommended, having had informed him that he'd seen quite the nice collection of books on the history of art, tutorials, etc. He then paused, recalling the conversation he had prior--his friend had mentioned a very drastic thing to him about the owner--something along the lines of...he was already at the cafe. Pulling the handle of the door, the man entered, shyly greeting the cashier as he settled himself in the seat near the window. A waitress, attired in a black outfit accompanied by an apron of the same color, strode forward, requesting what he would like. He then began to tell her that he'd like a hot chocolate with marshmallows--/precisely/, only two.  She nodded, scurrying off to create the beverage.

     Time passed, and he found himself scanning the streets, wondering if the bookstore was close. In fact, it was. It was right across from where he was; its open flag billowing in the early spring wind. He nearly grinned. Perfect. His hot chocolate arrived, and absentmindedly, he took a hearty gulp, almost spewing out what he had drunk, his tongue going numb. Well. He hoped the bookstore would go / slightly/ better than his little moment in the cafe.

     Jude finished quickly, making sure to leave a tip and headed out of there as soon as he could, yearning to escape from that treacherous moment, but at the same time craving a good sit-down with a book. He then stepped in the store. The vibe he received was pleasurable. He felt at /home/. It was a nice soothing place. There were no sounds to be heard besides the almost-silent clicking of a clock.

     "Hello...?" He greeted softly, looking around, finally laying eyes upon a girl behind the register, her back turned as her finger was placed upon a page of the book she seemed to be reading. Must be a good book, he thought. Her hair, a soft ginger color, was clumped together in a completely inaccurate bun; strands of hair stringing out from the loose tie. He grimaced, he couldn't say he was entirely pleased himself with the outcome of the other party's hair, but that wasn't his judgement to make. She was petite, her shoulders slumped. She seemed to be genuinely concentrated, so she barely even gave him a blink until he cleared his throat--clucking awkwardly under his breath. Her head raised, and that was when he realized--there were protruding lines on the page, and her eyes were consumed with dim, colorless irises. She happened to be blind, possibly to intent as well, but he could not help but be captivated by the being before him, the counter the only barrier that kept them from each other--she was absolutely beautiful.

Olivia Keith

Otter Valley Union