Hypnagogic

cafe_hypnagogic

hypnagogic

  1. of or relating to drowsiness.
  2. inducing drowsiness.

 

The cafe was busier than Peter had expected. He turned toward the storefront window, allowing smatterings of sunlight to warm his face.

He had shown up an hour early, wanting to make sure he was seated before Miranda arrived. He had brought along a book to read, but couldn’t seem to concentrate amidst the ongoing conversations. The sensory cocktail of the aroma of coffee and the constant whirring of the grinder was having a hypnagogic effect on him. He was starting to wish he’d gotten more sleep.

He popped in some gum and reopened his book and faced the window.

Peter wasn’t sure why he had worn his sunglasses. Maybe it was to delay his inevitable foray into stark honesty. Maybe he really just wanted to preserve her memory of him, the Peter Waerden who, in his 30s, was strong, successful, and highly sought after by LAPD to solve some of their toughest crimes.  The Peter who was serious about work and even more serious about her. The guy who was playful, relaxed, and full of life.

Unfortunately that guy had left when Miranda did.

He wondered what she would see when she arrived. Would she see some wrinkled old man? A failure?

Nelson had assured him that he looked good, “like a well-dressed, gentleman,” he had said, “quite, classic” he repeated on their way to the cafe, trying to calm Peter, by reasoning, “If she still didn’t think highly of you, she wouldn’t be asking you for help.”

Peter had wanted to make a good second first impression so badly, he even let Nelson put some special moisturizer on his skin. Why a man in his late 20s would be concerned about wrinkles was an unsolvable mystery to Peter, but Nelson assured him, it was never too early to start the battle against the ravages of time. Peter had just shaken his head. He had been so distracted he didn’t realize Nelson had pulled out the cologne until he felt the cool sensation on his neck. He had almost lost his balance and fallen over from the surprise.

Never one for to many things, Peter had never really worn cologne, except on special occasions–like the night he had proposed to Miranda–so he hoped the aroma wouldn’t betray his (and Nelson’s) obvious attempt to disguise any nervousness.

Peter checked his watch again. It was 20 minutes to 9, but if Miranda were still Miranda, she would be early. He had given Nelson permission to hang around the cafe until Miranda showed up, before heading back to Peter’s place to finish tidying up.

Instead of attempting to reread the same page for the fifth time in a row, Peter closed the book, as the slight clearing of someone’s throat drew his attention away from the window.

“Hi, Peter…”

Miranda. Her voice was teary, but unmistakable.

 

 

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