A Small Café
“I don’t know if she’ll be there. And anyway, why am I going there? Um, intuition is the Queen of the decision-making! Yes, probably, that’s she talking inside me”. Alex honked a car that tried to overtake him, then gave way to it and put on speed.
Driving along the broad road was a pleasure. Steppes spread to the left and right. It was sunset. The wind openly flirted with him through the right side window. It will appear soon – a small roadside café. They met there seven years ago. He did not know how to start a conversation, frankly staring at her, thought quite a long time and pronounced as in an old joke: “Are you also sitting in this café?”
Well, but then things got rolling...
“Will she come today, or not? I’d rather think about the new novel, but my thoughts are elsewhere. I do want to see her! The latter one was published, that’s good. Well done!” Nevetheless, his thoughts switched to the novel. “And they promised to transfer a royalty today, the devils!” He jokingly called his publishers so – probably for their remarkable business grip.
Soon outlines of a roadside café appeared. A nice place, a-la an American diner of “cowboy times”. He parked. Entered.
The same wooden tables of “hazelnut” color, covered with a white cloth, the same bar, a couple of visitors, bored over a beer. Renovations, however, have been made recently: false ceilings, new blinds on the windows fluttering here and there in the breeze by an open window. A young beautiful girl standing behind the bar and wiping glasses smiled graciously and invited him to take a seat.
“The most typical barmaid”, he thought. “Brunette with long hair, balls-like breasts “as if trying to get out of a blouse” and beautiful shifty brown eyes”.
Alex sat down at one of the tables. The “typical barmaid” brought him the menu.
– Espresso, – he said, somehow with a Spanish accent.
– Um, maybe she’s there, after all? How many years I've been looking for her through the search service at “odnoklassniki.ru”! What a fool, I swear!
Alex opened the laptop and went to “odnoklassniki”.
His page failed to open for some reason, but it was not really something he needed. He decided to once again find her. Mereschenko, Meresyeva, Marshenko-va, but she – Natasha Merkulova – was not there.
– Um... – here he caught sight of one of the users who were online. – Sergei Shevtsov! But he died last year!
Alex looked at the name of the site – “odnoklassniki.another.world.ru”.
– Oh, my God!
He felt that someone came up to him, and Alex looked up. All the visitors of the café were standing next to him: a big-faced man in a baseball cap and grubby T-shirt, from under which hair stuck out, his friend, with whom they had already taken a nip, a tall thin girl in creepy glasses, which obviously did not suit her, and a charming barmaid.
– Welcome to another world! – The middle-aged man in a baseball cap said smilingly.
– Another world?! What’s this nonsense?!
The barmaid smiled sincerely again and added:
– How do you know me? I did not introduce myself, did I?! – Alex asked, startled.
– Well, first of all, you are a famous writer. And secondly, you got smashed up in an accident half an hour ago, while making an overtake. And you honked to that obstinate driver. Here, watch the news, – she snapped her fingers and there was news on the First Channel:
– (marked urgent) A famous writer Alex Mikhailov smashed up near a roadside café on the Kiev highway today at 15.30. His novels “Shelter of Lonely Dreams”, “I’ll Give You... Death”, “Old Omeliya” and others caught fancy of the reader...
The barmaid switched off the sound to finish up.
– Oh, my God!.. – Alex took his head in the hands.
– Don’t worry so! By the way, go and talk to him. He’s having his break-fast now on the shore of the ocean, – she continued.
– Who is “he”? – Alex asked in surprise.
– The Lord. Oh! He is a big fan of yours. Especially rereads the books, where you write about him. Can’t put them down, awaits publication of a new one. Says that it’s a lie, but beautifully written. And laughs heartily at this. Thank you, Alex, – the girl thanked him.
– Well, and how do you live here? – Alex calmed down a bit and asked a question.
– Perfect! We have Internet and TV. We have no money, but we have eve-rything! It’s scary when everything is because of the dough, as you say, there, in “your world”. Here you write a book, kick the bucket – and that’s it.
– You use what you want. It is the paradise, after all! – It was the turn of the man in a baseball cap to explain things to him.
Alex looked out the window. There was a sign saying “Paradise – one hun-dred meters”, and on the right there was another one: “Hell – two hundred me-ters”.
He wanted to ask why it is longer to get there...
– And?.. – He was showing at tables with a hand.
– To reflect while going – the man answered sternly.
Then the barmaid was shaking him by the shoulder and asked:
– Are you also sitting in this café? Are you also sitting in this café? Are you also sitting in this café?
Alex jerked and... woke up. It was she standing in front of him – Natasha.
– Oh, God, hi! – He got up, shining and absolutely distraught.
It was she! She! The same blond hair, a strand of them as usual falling down over her eyes. And these eyes! What the eyes! His favorite dimples in her cheeks. His favorite black dress...
Still, she came, did not forget.
– You had a dream? – She asked, smiling.
– A dream... so... you know... I... probably, wrote more than I needed to the day before.
– Hello, Alex!
– Hello, Natasha! – Alex was beaming. After all, she’s here! She came! She’s here! She did not forget!
– I thought – what if you come here?
– I thought the same thing.
– You became a famous writer, – she said, not taking her eyes off him.
– Ah... – he shrugged.
– How are you, Alex?
– I’ve been looking for you for so long. Let’s take a seat.
They sat down.
– ...Including at “odnoklassniki”, – he took his breath. – I have not seen you for five years... Even now I’ve been looking for you through the search ser-vice, and fell asleep, and I had a terrible dream. You know, I...
She did not let him finish, took him by the hand and said:
– Don’t worry, from now on I will be always at “odnoklassniki”!
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