Today I am feeling more, namely, sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness. I thought a writing exercise would be a wonderful distraction!
This week I got the prompts from Jacqueline at Randomosity, and the lucky words are:
Word Set #1
Stars, Penchant, Yearning, Exploring, Humanity, Delicate
Word Set #2
Gauzy, Flamboyant, Orange, Thin, Stilletos, Fell
Whew, used all the words but it's a long one! My apologies if I rambled a bit :)
Kate stepped onto the large balcony and breathed in cool night air. Despite the late hour, the city still bustled and a glow emanated from below the thick railing. Her scrubs weren't much protection against the wind but her fleece jacket and a scalding cup of coffee helped take the edge off.
Walking to the edge of the balcony she leaned against the round railing, one foot securely planted and the other lazing behind, bent at the knee and ponderously swaying side to side. Looking down she saw a handful of people, loads of cars, red and green traffic lights, and floating papers and trash that no one else seemed to see.
After a moment she looked up, hoping to see stars but instead saw a grey-black sky and the artificial piercing light of an airplane high above. After a moment of exploring she thought she found a couple bright stars but was disappointed in the showing.
She returned to observing humanity and hugging her cup of coffee.
Hearing the door from the stairwell open behind her, Kate startled and attempted to keep her coffee contained as she whirled to see who had invaded her private respite; not many had a penchant for the southwest balcony since it was only accessible via four flights of stairs and far less convenient than the south or northeast balconies.
Her breath caught, not entirely from the hot coffee on her fingers, but at the sight of John striding onto the balcony with his own coffee and world weary slump.
"Mind if I join you?" He asked, waiting for her reply before leaning onto the railing and blowing over the top of his steaming java. "Little chilly tonight," he offered and sighed.
"Yep." She sighed as well, yearning for something smart or funny to say but only finding herself inhaling his spicy fragrance and looking at the flamboyant neon orange, green, and yellow colors on his sneakers contrasting against the plain brown of his scrubs.
Kate's own brown scrubs meshed wonderfully with her sensible ergonomic clogs in brown leather and taupe socks. She didn't remember where she had bought taupe socks, but in that moment it felt like a damn crime against womanhood.
John sipped at his coffee and winced, then smirked. "This thing is so hot it wouldn't have time to cool before it hit the ground; we'd have a new patient in a hot minute.... heh." Looking at her out of the side of his eye he waited for her reaction, his body tense.
Kate snorted and then hurried to sip at her coffee, instantly regretting it as the liquid scalded her tongue. "Damn it!"
"Oh shit, Kate, I'm sorry!" John exclaimed and turned to her, in his haste dropping his own cup of scalding hot coffee over the railing toward the street below.
They both gasped, their eyes locking briefly as they both levered over the railing to watch the coffee cup as it fell the ten stories to the street. The cup's lid detached before it reached the ground, spraying fine coffee rain down the side of the building as the cup and lid continued down to a soft landing. Kate and John sighed in relief, relaxing as they leaned away from the railing.
Kate felt a flutter below her breast bone as their shoulders touched. She smiled, hoping that the dingy lighting on the balcony would disguise her blush. John turned to face her, frowning apologetically and shrugging. He ran a hand through his curly brown hair and then smiled back at her. "No patients then."
"Lucky for you," she returned.
They paused, facing each other for a moment as their smiles faded to kind, open faces. It was a delicate moment, a moment Kate had been waiting for for months, like a gardener waiting for plants to bloom---any moment could be the moment.
John cleared his throat and nodded upward. "It's a shame about the stars."
They rearranged themselves side by side, leaning on the railing, as they were before but closer, their fleece covered shoulders nearly touching.
"Shame we can't see any stars here." He kicked the stuccoed wall of the railing lightly with his sneaker. "Shame about my coffee too." He snickered, and then stopped his fidgeting. "Not a shame about this balcony though."
Kate tensed and then took a deep breath, "It's my favorite break spot. Wasn't sure anyone else ever came out here."
"Well, I'm glad I did." John turned toward her, resting his elbow on the rail, his other hand plugged into his coat pocket. "I mean, maybe this is off base but I can't let this chance roll by..."
She gulped, her eyes whirling from her coffee cup to his face and back. These were words for stilletos and gauzy lighting, not a chilly balcony and functional footwear; yet she felt swept away by a rush of romantic hope.
"It may be a thin chance but I wanted to see if maybe you... I wanted to see if you might want to get coffee sometime, er, outside the hospital and not on a balcony, preferably at a drinkable temperature." John smiled a nervous, toothless smile and Kate saw the tension in his shoulders as he waited.
She sighed and smiled. "I would love you--to! I mean, I would love to drink coffee with you." She hung her head in embarrassment and leaned over the balcony, her hands falling slack toward the ground. Before she could react, her coffee cup slipped from her hands and followed John's disgraced beverage to the ground below.
They both gasped, groaned, then chuckled.
"Maybe coffee is not a good idea for us."