The room's motion sensor light turned itself off.
He tried waving his hands and it worked.

Dear Heather, he wrote. It's strange that-
He chewed his nail, to make it smooth and even.
But daggers scraped his lips.
He smelt garlic through pores.

Taking his pencil he wrote on the notepad.
That I love you but at the moment-
And tried to stay between the lines.
-I'm not looking forward to seeing you.

He knew that was exactly how he wanted to start it.
Thought of it in the cafe, a few days before.
Wonder if that man sat next to him was meeting someone?
He kept looking over his shoulder. Maybe he was nervous.

The motion sensor light turned off. He waved, it worked.
I do want to come home but I am still horrified-
Why didn't he sit where he could see the front door?
-about last night. Everytime we get back together-
Oh yeah, that seat was taken.
Daggers scraping lips, garlic pores.
-feels like an opportunity missed.

He strayed out of the lines and felt like trying again.
Was it important enough to do a version 'in best'? Yes.
The carpet looked like a bus seat. Just ugly.
Sat at the very back, the feeling of the engine behind him.
And when it stopped on the bridge, at night.
The river beneath him was invisible in the dark.
But he knew it was was there because he could hear it.
Another time, a bike tyre mark embedded in dog shit, at one of the stops.
Time to get a car.

Trying to make his nails smooth and even. He knew better.
Anyway. Let's keep going with this draft for now.
I don't want people watching when I pull up outside-
The pencils in school either said HB or 2B on them.
They were black and red or black and yellow.
-and walk to the front door.

The light went off. Waved, worked.
Daggers on lips. Garlic pores.
Like an opportunity missed, he read over. That was the key bit.
Who knew the inside of your ears could bruise?
That was the main message alright.

Maybe a version 'in best' isn't needed.
He felt like a good person for even considering it was.
It's nice to focus on doing something and just do it y'know.


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About the hipster

Did the hipster eat the last bit of yesterday's stir fry for breakfast this morning? Or was it a greasy spoon bacon butty with ketchup? Would that explain the bloody red stain on his shirt, given to him as a birthday present by his brother a few years ago?

Does the hipster make small talk with the old man sat next to him at the café as he waits for his friend to arrive? Or with the barista before he ordered his drink? What do they talk about? Does the old man, also alone, talk about the graffiti that’s being hosed off the shop shutters across the street? Is his outrage, based on his friendship with the shop owner, rather than his opinion on the graffiti's image of a dog with human teeth, spoken? Has the hipster ever had a conversation with an old person, or a stranger? Does that explain his nervous nail-biting, a habit that dates back to his early teens?

How long does it take to make the hipster's flat white with soya milk? How long should it? Are some baristas better at making certain drinks than others? For example, are there cappuccino and mocha specialists? Are the staff competitive at making designs in the milky froth? Do some make flowers and others love hearts, and how far does that fall along gender lines? Or has the cafe got a particular style, based on managerial preference? Is that style respected even on the manager's days off?

Why does the hipster feel strange when the song I Should Be So Lucky is played at the café? Why does the hipster feel strange when the barista laughs as the chorus kicks in?

Will the hipster be relieved when his friend turns up, or does he like being alone with his thoughts? What does he think about? His week at work? His ill mother? A girl? Does the hipster worry about the future? Does the hipster worry about the present? Does the hipster wonder what his life might be like had he not left his home town and moved to the city? Does the hipster think his A Levels alone will be enough to get a job that he likes? How long-term are his hopes and dreams? Are they based on the ambitions he had as a kid, or on what his peers are doing today?

Does the hipster consider himself a giving person? Do others? Has the hipster enough money to spend in the café for the rest of the afternoon? What’s the hipster’s socio-economic background? Given his public school education and family-subsidised living situation, does the hipster consider himself privileged? How does he compare himself with the old man, the barista, or the guys removing the graffiti from the shop shutters? With whom does he feel closest to? Has the hipster ever voted?

Does the hipster feel more or less important in the café than he does in his apartment’s living room? Does he wear those same chinos when he’s lounging around at home, or pyjamas? Does it depend on who else is around? How many different pairs of trousers does he have? Did he buy them all himself?

How does the hipster compare himself with the young men on the table next to his? Has he noted the difference in quality between his shoes and theirs? Between his chinos and theirs? What bits of conversation does he overhear? Why does he not feel angry when one of them reveals his support for eugenics, given that his mother is critical ill in hospital? Is it primarily because he's never felt such affection towards his family, or because she's been ill a long time? Or did he just not hear the person properly?

Is the hipster aware of the fact that the café flooded just two months before? Is he aware that the café’s owner is being investigated for insurance fraud? How well does the hipster know the café staff? How well does he think he knows them? Would he respect their opinions in a political debate? Does he trust them?

How close is the hipster to other people? Do people consider him shy or rude for not talking much? How many people are in his circle of friends, and do they consider him an important part of that circle, or just on the periphery? To what extent does he define his personal qualities by the memory of one of his first girlfriends saying he was a good listener, as the blue dawn appeared just as everyone else had left the party? When’s the last time the hipster called his mother? Are his chats with his father just watered-down versions of these conversations?

Is the hipster even slightly concerned at the health implications the flat white with soya milk will have on his body? Has he noted the quality of the air in the café? Is he uncomfortable enough on his wooden chair, which has no cushion, to get up and stand at the bar instead? Is the hipster tired of hanging out in cafés? Is he doing what he wants to be doing, or because he feels like he has to? Is he tired generally? How well does he sleep?

Is there a Wi-Fi connection in the café? If yes, is the name and password signposted at the bar, or does it have to be asked for? How much does the hipster spend a month on his phone? £20? £40? How long does his battery last? What does that say about him?

The barista behind the bar – who is she? Is it obvious to people that she’s been working there for many years? How much does the barista make in tips? Have they got a tips jar at the bar, or do people just add an extra few pounds onto their bill? Is it easier for the café owner to distribute the tips one way or the other? Does the barista take home the tips in cash? Are they usually less than she expects them to be? How much less?

Will everyone do and feel this again in a week's time?


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