Public. Private.

Assignment: Detail Sketch, Class: Literary Journalism. The goal of this article is to use observation and detail to describe a place or character. No interviews allowed.

A blast of wintry air from the glass-panelled door announced her arrival as she swept into the cramped café. One tall, extra-foam, non-fat, soy latte later she was seated in a darkened corner on a plush leather couch. With a toss of her long dark locks she pulled her bubblegum pink cell phone out of her designer bag. A perfectly manicured set of crimson nails tapped out a number while she glanced over to her nearest neighbour, a lanky college student sporting his school’s red and white colours.

The serene setting was soon shattered as the hapless recipient of the call connected on the line.

“YOU MOTHERFUCKER!” the young lady shouted into the phone, causing her gentlemen neighbour to spill his raised beverage in surprise.

“I know what you’ve been doing, and I hate you!” she erupted as the buzz of conversations turned to silence, and all the eyes in the café turned to her corner. The lanky boy stared, mouth agape. Tears began to fall from her heavily shadowed lids. The student looked away embarrassed at the scene and caught the sympathetic glance of another male student who seemed relieved to be a safe distance away from the weepy female.

As the woman listened to the response on the other end of the line she wiped away her mascara, which left streaky trails down her face. Her neighbour’s eyes returned downward to the open tome in front of him. Every so often he swept his unruly blonde hair out of his eyes and cast a guilty glance to the petite firecracker using a wadded up tissue in vain to keep her make-up in place.

“The boy was now in a state of panic. Not only did he have a weepy woman on his left, but a table of man-bashers on his right. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand.”

“What’s wrong with me,” the girl pleaded into the sleek phone. “Is it because I don’t put out?” Like a Saturday morning kid’s cartoon, the boy’s mouth hung open and his tongue lolled out. The girl shot him a deathglare, as if he alone was intruding on her personal revelation that the entire café was now privy to. He faltered under her penetrating glare and hastily snapped his mouth shut and turned his gaze to the now very interesting wallpaper.

“Was she better than me?” the woman said, her hard tone fringed with an edge of desperation, “is that why you left?” A table of two females listening in to the conversation threw the girl glances of understanding, their discussion turning to their own sordid love lives.

The boy was now in a state of panic. Not only did he have a weepy woman on his left, but a table of man-bashers on his right. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand.

The swing of the door and sudden influx of frigid air dissipated the awkward atmosphere of the hushed café provided a slap in the face to the stunned listeners. The hum of conversations faltered, then resumed like an old engine that finally turned over. Soon the decibel level returned to its normal tone but all the witnesses continued to whisper about the drama that unfolded before their eyes.

After 20-minutes where she explicitly and graphically hashed over her feelings, sex and “where we stand”, the girl snapped her phone shut and mirror open. Her very red-faced neighbour looked around and rubbed a palm against the back of his neck. Oblivious to the attention garnered by her outburst and loud talk, she took her first sip of coffee, only to discover that it had become as cold as the outside air. She huffed loudly, got up dumped her cup into the trash, and headed out the door leaving the lucky boy with a grin and a sigh of relief.


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