Robin Michelle Writes

{1 April 2014}   Americano

I never learned his name, but thought of him as Americano as that was the drink he ordered every morning at the torrefazione. I watched him rush in, dressed for work in a fine suit, silk tie, and Italian leather shoes, briefcase in hand. He’d place his order imperiously, no ‘per favore’ or ‘grazie’, just a blunt “un Americano”. He’d check his watch while waiting for his drink, practically grabbing it from the baristo’s hand. I was amazed that nothing was ever dropped or spilled.

Even with this rude behavior, or perhaps because of it, I found him incredibly interesting, wondering what he did for a living, was he married (no ring), was he in fact American? As good as he looked in a suit, would he look as good in jeans and a t-shirt… or naked?

I envisioned and tried scenarios where I might be able to find out. I could follow him; or bump into forcing him to slow down. Or maybe get in line behind him and try to strike up a conversation. Following ended when he got into a taxi. Bumping into him just caused him to curse at me. And he completely ignored all of my attempts to talk with him.

Then one evening, while out for a head clearing stroll, I watched him exit a taxi and walk into a building just down the street from the torrefazione. As I passed him unlocking the entrance, I took a chance. “Good evening.”

He whirled around, grabbed my arm and forced me into the entry way, pressing me against the wall. “Who are you? Why are you following me?”

My heart was beating so fast, my breathing was so rapid and shallow, the shock of his behavior so alarming, that it took me a moment to even begin to formulate an answer. He shook me, his hands gripping my arms so tightly I knew there’d be bruises.

“I-I’m not following you. I-I-I just recognized you from the torrefazione. I’m only trying to be nice.” I tried to wriggle free from his hold. When that didn’t work, I glared at him.

He stared at me as though trying to read my mind, then sighed and released me. “I’m sorry I frightened you. Rough week.” He passed a hand over his face, and I noted that his suit was rumpled, his tie loose, his expression one of fatigue.

“I truly didn’t mean to startle you,” I started as I moved away, back towards the street, “I’ll just leave now, okay?”

“Yes, yes, good night.”

I didn’t look back, but I could feel him watching me as I walked down the street towards my own apartment.

I never saw him again. A few days later, after noting his absence in the mornings, I walked back to the building he’d been going in to. It was locked up tight with a large ‘For Let’ sign in the front window. I thought back to that night, remembering his body against mine as he pressed me against the wall… I was pretty certain that was a gun I’d felt.


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