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Writing 101 Day 8

[Writing 101, Day Eight: Death to Adverbs

Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind.

The twist of the day? Write the post without adverbs.]


Walking toward the front door, the windows reflect the midday back to me. The cars sit in their slots, silent, baking in the sun. Averting my gaze from my own eyes, knowing why I’m here, I feel a little embarrassed, but press on, opening the door for a woman leaving as I’m arriving.


She mutters her thanks as she glances in my direction, not meeting my eyes, but returning to the phone in her left hand as she walks the three steps, before checking her coffee as she steps off the curb returning to her car and her life. Watching her go, her blonde hair, wrapped in a tight braid laying across her left shoulder sports a crimson ribbon at the tip, catching the afternoon breeze. The breeze catches a scent, whether from her shampoo or perfume, I do not know, but the scent reminds me of wildflowers and clean sheets drying in the sun.


Turning back to the door, seeing no one else leaving, I pass into the comparative dimness of the cafe. Though I am expecting it, the scents of brewing coffee, steaming milk, and the wake of her recent passing, assault my nose.  I turn to the left and find a seat in the corner, outside the view of the staff behind the counter.


Slinging my red backpack off my shoulder, I sit in the brown leather chair, the leather creaking and rustling in that comfortable, familiar way only leather can. The seat is warmer than I would expect. I wonder, to myself, if the blonde sat in this spot. No one is sitting near nor keeping an eye on the chair, as if for a friend, so I settle in, pulling my white Chromebook out, laying it across my lap. Trying to keep my eyes away from anyone else, I pull out my headphones, don them and plug them in. No one has to know that they are for the camouflage. I suspect people will not notice me, if they think I cannot hear them. All situated, I lift my eyes and, meeting no one’s gaze, survey the room.


To my right, in the opposite corner along the near wall, a man and woman sit across from each other. The man, his black hair salted with silver, is dressed in tan khaki slacks and a light blue Oxford shirt, white tee peeking out at the collar. His sneakers, white and clean, almost disappear under the edge of his own leather chair. Leaning forward to the edge of his seat, his expression is happy and cheerful, the edges of his salt and pepper mustache turning upwards above his smile. Her strawberry blonde hair, hangs down, loose past her shoulders, hiding her eyes and all of her face except her chin. Her soft yellow spaghetti tank top accentuates her curves, as do her tight blue jeans. In opposition to his leather sneakers, she wears navy converse sneakers with white laces. Their conversation, muted by my headphones, is playful and they seem to be enjoying each others’ company.


Looking across the cafe, over the top of my glasses, two people sit apart. Each appears to keep their own thoughts, not aware of much around them. In front of me, across the space, sits a mature man in his 50s or 60s, from the uniform grey shading of his hair and beard. He appears, at first glance, to be a teacher or professor, though he might just affect the model scholar. His sneakers are worn and well used by comparison of the other man, as are his jeans, beginning to fray at the cuffs. His white shirt appears freshly cleaned and starched, with no hint of stain. He sits, absorbed by the book and without any visible drink. Unable to discern the title of the book, it is interesting that he reads ink printed on dead trees, instead of a computer screen, tablet, or phone, reinforcing the traditional scholar impression.


To my left, along the opposite wall, sits an apparent student. Her computer lid faces me, so only her eyes and hair are visible from behind the screen. Her chestnut hair is highlighted by auburn streaks. Though she tosses the mass of hair over her right shoulder, an errant dark auburn curl sneaks out and bounces near her left ear as she types. Once, she pauses and looks up, as if to catch someone spying on her, though she looks toward the older scholar, so she does not catch me looking. Her brown eyes seem to sparkle with mischief for a moment, before she returns to her work. As she returns to her typing, I steal a glance, noting her over-sized teal shirt with white block letters hanging off her shoulders and the ubiquitous athletic shorts popular with college girls. The shorts, grey and teal, match the teal in her shirt and her black converse high-top shoestrings. She sits on the plastic chair, one leg crossed and tucked under the other, the remaining foot, swinging to an unheard beat.


For several minutes, no one joins our troop. We sit and keep our own thoughts. I type and wonder, as I finish this, if anyone observes me as I do them.

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