"Large Coffee", Part 2

He took a sip of his coffee and hissed as it burned his tongue, nearly spilling the rest of the cup down his leg.

He opened the heavy door and stepped back out into the sunshine, shoes scuffing on the concrete sidewalk. Involuntarily he squinted and looked to the right, away from the sun.

He looked up to see the girl from behind the counter walking over with a paper cup. Briefly he spared a thought for the environment, then relaxed—the green ink printed on the side of the cup probably meant it was compostable. He stepped away from the window and took the cup from the girl, giving her a nod.

He stepped away from the register, trying not to dwell too much on the whole thing, and nearly ran into the awkwardly placed potted tree in the center of the cafe. Mentally he laughed—the world had almost literally hit him over the head with symbolism. To distract himself, he took out his phone and started searching the app store, trying to find the game his roommate had been playing yesterday morning.

He decided not to bother with change. He had gotten his paycheck last Friday anyway. Might as well use it.

Somehow coffee seemed like the right thing to order today, even though he usually avoided the bitter stuff. Maybe it would have a psychological effect on him, caffeine resistance from energy drinks notwithstanding. It’s not like he got much sleep last night.

The door was heavier than he thought it would be, and it took an extra little push to force it open, causing a little bell to bounce up and down with an annoyingly cheerful ring. If only his brother had called sooner…

He paused in front of a cafe.

He couldn’t get it out of his head. Of course he was fine with it! What had he done, in the last few years, to make his brother think he wouldn’t be? The kid’d be all right eventually, sure, but it hurt to think how badly he must have been doing. At least they had broken up now.

But really, there was nothing he could do, so he put on his coat and left the house. His feet began taking him downtown—a good a place as any right now. The point was to get out.

He’d gotten nothing done all morning—not really a surprise, after staying up on the phone half the night. They’d talked about mom and dad, and about Jeff. Yesterday he hadn’t even known about Jeff; today he could have flown home just to beat him up for what he did to his brother.

From his couch he could hear the bell chiming 1 o’clock from the church next door.

So it looks like he wasn’t thinking about her at all. Bummer.

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