Street corner performers are not a common sight nowadays. They seem to be more reserved for cities or otherwise inaccurate chick-flicks about small town life. Small areas such as my own do not typically have sidewalk strummers or town troubadours in regular abundance. Everyone is either too busy to appreciate or too busy to spend time outdoors at all. So street corner performers are not a common sight.
I was on my way to the local cafe for a boost of much-needed caffeine. It was that time of the year in which the mornings were frigid and the afternoons were blustering. Winter had backed a vulnerable summer into a corner, smothering it with icy winds. The sun had at least remained fair, although it’s beams of heat were quickly being gobbled up by the pesky currents of wind.
The color of the trees were just starting to change and just beginning to fall. I saw him there, the Autumn hues catching wisps of raven hair that peaked from the metal bench. He lay lax, one knee bent with his foot resting on the armrest while the other stay extended. He was dressed his age, which means dressed down, the only seemingly mature piece of clothing was a sloppily buttoned vest. A guitar rested between finger-less gloved hands, playing quietly, oblivious to the leaves swirling about and the blogger girl in search of caffeine several feet away.
I, for one, never understood finger-less gloves. I had once purchased a pair that looked like penguins on which the fingers were removable, only to be sorely disappointed and left with freezing fingers. In the suffocating gale, I could only imagine the numb pain of slowly frosting hands.
Loosening my olive scarf, I ducked under the mossy colored cafe sign. A retreating couple held the door for me as I thanked them, letting the welcoming heat kiss my cheeks. As usual, the tables were near packed by families catching meals, couples sharing drinks, and old friends catching up.
The waitress greeted me in a thick Latin American accent and I swiftly ordered two drinks, only having to wait a short time before they were presented to me. What I wanted very much was to stay and write a bit, but sitting at a table for two alone seemed pathetic so I braced myself for the outdoors.
My footsteps remained silent against the pavement. The only sounds that could be heard were those from the gentle strum of a guitar accompanied by the soft scuttling of rapidly crisping leaves. His movements were lazy, not bothering to move from one area on the finger board enough to differentiate, resulting in simple tunes.
“You’re a moron.” I hovered above him. The playing creased and once relaxed eyes formed a glare. Half gloved hands slid down the smooth surface of the instrument, heated scowl sizing me up.
“It that black?” The guitarist gestured to the cup in my right hand with his chin.
“Just the way you like it.” I scoffed mockingly.
“Not decaf, is it?” Everyone knew that the guitar player was a major caffeine junkie. Monster, Red-bull, he had them all, and after hearing the energy drink horror stories, I had taken it upon myself to get him off everything of the like.
“Would I give you decaffeinated coffee?” The answer was “yes, I would” but he apparently found my answer acceptable, and made room for me half reluctantly and I handed him his beverage.
I took place to him, taking notice of the dancing leaves disperse, as if realizing that their music source had been interrupted.
The caffeine junkie seemed to let his beverage warm his fingers before sipping. At least, that’s what I assumed. He was never one for the display of emotion, so even if he was cold and happy for coffee, he did not show it. He spoke my name and stared pensively at his cup.
“This is decaf.” He stated, irritation playing in his voice. I rolled my eyes at him.
“Be happy you even get any.” I had thought he had decided to drop the subject from the moment of silence he answered me with. The minute of quiet had been calming. The guitarist had a certain aura to him, that of gentle silence and of dark heat. Surprisingly, his high intake never had any effect on coffeeful silences.
“Give me yours.” he demanded dryly. And before I could utter the word “no”, the back of a guitar filled my vision and the warm heat in my hand was plucked from my loosened grip. I watched him smirk at my horrified face as he downed the beverage, before crushing the cardboard and dropping it to the ground.
Shocked, I stared at his now emotionless face with his guitar in hand. So I did what any mature person would do–I booked it. Gripping the neck of his guitar, I bolted with a smug grin on my face. I pumped my legs against the cracking pavement and could hear him shouting after me.
He ended up chasing me for three blocks before he about tackled me in front of the local elementary school. And he never stole my coffee again.