Good gloves are hard to find – and easy to lose. You check and double-check.
It’s not enough. One minute they’re there; the next, you’re in a café,
your handbag turned upside down and inside out. Panic rises. Your heart
sinks. A lipstick falls to the floor, and old Polo mints roll across the table.
You try to remember where you’ve been, but your mind’s completely blank.
How, you begin to wonder, did you even get here? You sit there with your bag
and then it hits you: you were only everywhere today, so there’s no point
in going back and looking. Around you dishes clatter and people chew.
The coffee machine grinds and whirs and steams. You stroke the thumb
of the one remaining glove. ‘What’s the matter, mademoiselle?’ asks the waiter,
who – you’re somehow sure – will understand. ‘I’ve lost my glove,” you say,
but you’re half-crying, and his English isn’t very good. ‘There, there,’ he says.
‘You beautiful woman. Forget him. You find better love.’ ‘No, no,’ you start,
but then give up. He brings you an espresso on the house. When you leave
it seems you used to have somewhere to go, but you’ve become another
person now. You shuffle out, slowly and uncertain – you, and your naked hand.
Author's Note: I wrote this ages ago, but since we're on the theme of cafés, I thought I'd post it. Americans may substitute "old Tootsie Rolls" for "old Polo mints" in the 4th line.