Saturday, 13th December | 9:05am
He’s walking from a metro station towards a shopping center in the outskirts of Prague. He’s walking fast. Get in, get the presents, get out. After that: Get back to work. He has a blog post scheduled for tomorrow morning and it still needs a lot of editing. As he enters the mall, he’s hit by a stream of warm air. The mall opened just a few moments ago and it’s still almost deserted. He smiles. Thanks to his masterful planning and discipline, this year’s Christmas shopping is going to be a smooth business.
The urge to hurry dissolves. Step after step, he is slowing down, until he stops completely. He looks around. He passed the first few apparel stores and now is standing in front of Starbucks cafe. The place that serves average coffee for ridiculous prices. “Let’s have one”, he surprises himself with his own thoughts. On the other hand, why not? He just signed up two new clients for his language coaching sessions. One cup of overpriced coffee is a vice he can afford.
He takes a large cappuccino in a paper cup and sits into an armchair. He takes his journal out from his pocket and starts scribbling his thoughts about that moment. Nothing too deep. In fact, none of his journal entries are deep. But somehow, the writing gives him peace of mind. No matter how angry, sad or confused he is: After he fills a page or two, he is able to regain his balance.
He remembers about an exercise he did in an acting class he attended this Tuesday.
“Close your eyes for a moment… Imagine you’re 6 years old and you are standing in your bedroom. You’re holding your favorite toy, you feel its texture with your hands…
Now you hear someone calling at you.
What does that person say?”
It’s interesting how vividly we can imagine when we try – and even more interesting how rarely we try that. He realizes that he’s sitting alone at a table in Starbucks – and how unusual it is for him to drink coffee alone. Well… They say that our brain does not really distinguish between imagination and reality. What if he imagined company for himself? A pleasant distraction for a Saturday morning?
Of course it’s Her who comes to mind. A Spanish tourist whom he met earlier this month. Presentation designer on her weekend trip to Prague. And who, just a few days ago, skillfully infiltrated his mind with text comments on tattoos and piercing.
Fine then! He conjures up the image of her sitting in the chair across the table.
…and there she is. A teasing smile and a curious look. Her chestnut hair, shaped in flirty layered bob, underlines her messy and cheeky charm – her signature impression. She looks at him and with the smile still on her face, she shakes her head: “Do you want to sit here all day or what? Let’s see what’s around!” He laughs, takes his cup and gets up from the armchair.
He is surprised that sustaining the image is not hard at all. He hears the clicks of her heels on the floor. He feels her hand touch his elbow, highlighting the high points in the stories she’s telling him. And when he turns to her and says: “You know what? It’s fun to talk to you”, he sees the crow’s feet form around her eyes as she smiles.
After ten minutes, he thanks her for the company and says goodbye. A blink of an eye – and she disappears.
“Good exercise”, he thinks. A technique to explore later.
He forgets about it during the day. When he wakes up on Sunday morning, however – she is the first thing he thinks of. He tries to dismiss the thoughts, but he fails. It does not get better the day after – or during the rest of the week.
A pleasant distraction that got out of hand. An image he can’t get rid of. A voice he can’t silence. How silly of him. Get his mind occupied by someone he will never see again.
Or… will he?