Scene. A cafe. The place is fairly busy with a chilled atmosphere. A woman is working behind the till, stacking up baked goods behind the display glass. A man and another woman enter the cafe. The woman sits a table and the man approaches the counter.
Man: Hello, could I get…?
Woman looks up. They recognise each other.
Man: Wow…this is…I had no idea you worked here.
Man: Well, um, how have you been?
Woman: How can I help you?
Woman: What would you like to order?
Man: Oh come on!
Woman: I’m busy.
Man looks around. All the customers are seated. But there is clearly nobody in the queue.
Man: Fine. What do you have?
Woman: Just ask for something and we probably have it.
Man: Have you got red velvet cake?
Woman nods and begins to collect a piece.
Man: Wait. That’s not what she wanted. I was just asking. For something. Like you said.
Man: Could I get a –
Man: Susan. From work. You met her once remember? Dark hair, quite tall. She’s by the window.
Woman surveys the cafe, turning her head from side to side. She spots Susan and nods, as if remembering.
Man: Excuse me?!
Woman: Raspberry tarts, we sell those.
Man: Oh…right! No, I don’t think so. I’ll have the –
Woman: So Susan. When did that happen?
Man: We started seeing each other around four – five months ago.
Woman: I see.
A very long, uncomfortable pause. Much longer than the previous. Another customer enters and stands behind the man, as if waiting in a queue.
Woman: Look, can you just tell me what your precious Susan wants to order? I’m busy here.
Man: Yes. Course. She wants a pastry.
Woman: (under her breath) Flaky.
Woman: A flaky pastry? Or…?
Man: Flaky. Flaky will do.
She puts one pastry in the bag.
Is that all?
Man: Yes. No. No it’s not. I’m sorry about what happened.
Woman: It’s a bit late for all that, don’t you think?
Man: I was stupid. Not a day goes past that I don’t regret it.
Woman: Well you have Susan now so…
Man: I don’t feel the same way about her like I did – I still do – for you.
Woman: (Talking over his head to the next customer) Hi, how can I help you?
Customer: I’ll take a mille feuille…
Woman: Of course ma’am. (turning and passing the pastry to the man) Your girlfriend’s waiting.
Customer: …and a blueberry pie.
Woman: No problem.
Man: Nothing’s been the same since you left. I mean, Susan’s amazing, but she’s not you. It’s not the same, never will be. There’s not the same…the same…
Man: Yes! That! It’s comfortable with her, that’s all. But I’ve never stopped thinking about you.
Customer: …Passion fruit cake. Two slices.
Woman: Here you are. That’ll be £7.67 please.
Man: You forgot to charge me. How much do I owe you?
Woman: More than you can afford.
Customer: Oh sorry, I forgot. One more thing?
Man: How many times can I apologise?
Woman: If you keep hassling me, I’ll be forced to call my manager. You’re making a scene.
Customer: If it’s not too much of a bother.
Man: I’ve said sorry. What do you want from me?
Woman: I want you to leave.
Man: Fine. Fine. Okay.
Turns to go and then doubles back.
You know, this was always your problem. You never talk about things. You just run away.
Customer: Do you sell – ?
Woman: No I don’t.
Customer: Who was that meant for?
Woman: Sorry. Him.
Customer: Oh well in that case, do you sell –
Man: I get it. I hurt you. But damnit, can’t we move on? Can’t you forgive me? Do you have to be so, so…?
Customer: Bitter –
Customer: Bitter buckwheat tea?
Woman: Of course, I’ll make that for you now ma’am.
She pours the tea.
Customer: And a cup of –
Man: Can we at least talk later?
Woman: Susan’s looking this way. You might want to lower your voice.
Man: Yes. That’s a great idea. (in a loud whisper) I’m sorry – my head’s all over the place at the moment. I just know that we need to talk. If not now, then later?
Customer: A hot cup of wispa, if you have it. And what are those? (Points at a shelf behind the woman.)
Woman: Chocolates. They’re very good actually. Would you like one?
Customer: What kind are they?
Man: Please. When do you get off work?
Woman: (To customer) After Eight.
Customer: Oh okay. No thanks.
Customer pays, collects items and returns to her seat.
Man: You never answered my calls.
Woman focuses on scrubbing the counter.
I get it. I deserve this I suppose. But is there any way – anything I could do to get you to forgive me?
Woman: She’s coming over.
Susan joins them. She holds the man’s hand.
Susan: Is everything alright?
Susan: You haven’t ordered the drinks! (To the woman) We’d like two cups of tea please. Black, no sugar.
Woman: Right away.
She pours drinks and hands them over. Man goes to collect drinks. It is unclear whether it is the man or woman’s fault, but the drinks are knocked over. The liquid stains Susan’s shirt and shoes.
Susan: Now look what you’ve done! Are you happy now?
Man: (staring at the woman) No. I’m not.
Susan: I’m sorry. My fiancé is such a klutz sometimes. Well go on then – apologise to the lovely lady!
Man: I am so, so sorry.
Susan: Oooh look at my skirt, it’s completely ruined. It was expensive too. I’m really sorry we’ve made such a mess. Honestly darling, how did you managed to drop the entire thing?
Woman: You threw it all away.
Man: (to Susan) I’ll get you a new one.
Woman: It won’t be the same.
Man: A spin in the washing machine should salvage it.
Woman: It’s too late.
Susan: (laughs) She knows what she’s talking about! Us girls have to look out for each other, eh? Right, I’m just going to the ladies room.
Woman: You’re getting married?!
The man goes to speak but the woman raises a finger, demanding silence. Man walks back to his table slowly. Susan re-enters.
They both turn.
Woman: Spotted dick. On the house. For the happy couple, eh?