The girl was cute, the guy, not. They sat by the door, at a table for two, and talked non-stop. And I, because I am naturally nosy and supremely shameless, I eavesdropped, ignoring my coffee and the chill that blew in through the door each time a patron left or entered.
“Lucy doesn’t like it when I tell her that,” the girl was saying. “Like, you know, at the end of the day that’s what you should do, but Lucy doesn’t like that.”
“That’s not right,” the guy said.
“I know! But when somebody comes to my door and, like, she wants to talk to you right away —
“What you need to do is tell her that you are not well and to come back in 20 minutes.”
“But Lucy doesn’t like that. I know your landlord is not, like, supposed to come over like that, but when somebody comes to your door and I know you have to, like, put down your foot and say you are not coming in, but Lucy doesn’t like that.”
So Lucy was the landlord. And the girl liked to say ‘like’. A lot.
It is always interesting the words that people sprinkle in their sentences to keep themselves going. My own subconscious word of choice is ‘actually’. The colleague I share an office with is incapable of finishing a sentence without ‘basically’. For this girl, talking up a storm with this guy too afraid to let the conversation die, the word is ‘like’.
“You need to tell her,” the guy said. “Tell her you are not well and she should come back in 20 minutes.”
“I guess the problem is that she might come back in 20 minutes and — I don’t know.”
“You need to get your mindset right and be firm.”
“But Lucy doesn’t like that. Like, I can talk to you or Melissa and you will take it very differently. But Lucy is not like that. People take things differently. And then I get aggravated… like, not aggravated but shouting and like… I hate that!”
The guy started to say something (I am pretty sure it was that the girl should ask Lucy to come back in 20 minutes), but the girl cut in.
“I am not like that. Like, you can say things like that without raising your voice. I can’t do that. I get agitated — not agitated, but…”
The guy said, after a pause, “It is just words.”
“Yeah,” the girl said. “Just words.”
Just words. Yes. I couldn’t help thinking how well that fitted their own situation. Sometimes we speak a lot many words but it is not the words that speak our meaning.
Finishing the coffee, I collected my belongings and walked to the door.
“I am going to start exercising,” the guy was saying.
“Yeah. Going to get rid of my beer belly.”
I didn’t hear the girl’s response. They didn’t hear the best wishes I mumbled to them in my head.
Maybe I got it all wrong. Maybe they are just friends and I am reading too much into their…words.
But I would like to think I am right. It is the festive season after all and I hope they both get what they want for Christmas.