Sophie Wetzel – “The Light”

On the corner of two vacant streets, in a town too small to be important, laid a small cafe. The cafe was small and clean, a sense of comfort overcoming those who stepped inside. It was quite popular, welcoming many inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhood everyday it had its door open. But as the next Sunday came to begin, the cafe was quite as it always was on this day, void of people and noise, clean and tidy. The midday sunshine shone through the clear windows, spreading a soft light over the dark cafe. Soon the clock on the wall struck a new minute, 11:50 it read.

At this exact moment, a figure opened the door, and looked around with a sense of quickness. After seeing no one around, he closed the door, walked into the cafe, and slowly moved to sit in the corner booth, away from the light of the sun. Sitting down, adjusted his black beanie and the long strawberry-blonde hair underneath it. Looking over towards the unmoving door, he sighed and look down at his hands. After even his hands began to bore him, he began to pick at the candle and flowers at the center of the table, arms folded as he leaned over it.

“What a lovely setup, I should have this back at the house,” he said to himself, the deadly silence of the space now broke.

After what felt like days, the man sat up as he felt a presence approach the booth where he sat, the clock reading 11:59. Looking up to great her, the man quickly shuffled out of the booth and extended his arms towards the woman in front of him. Raising an eyebrow, the woman pulled him into a hug. After a few seconds, the two pulled apart, moving to sit on opposite sides of the booth. The man leaned back onto the table, picking at the white and pink roses in the display.

“Don’t do that Ab, the owner paid for those. You’re ruining them.” a softer voice said firmly, breaking the silence once again.

The man raised his head up, a bored expression plastered across his face as he started across the booth. The woman across from him started back, her gaze piercing and powerful. The tension rose quickly before falling just as quick, as the woman reached out her left hand and touched the candle wick with her pointer finger. A small flame sparked out of nothing, light up the black booth. The flame flicked for a few seconds before staying still.

“Don’t do that Annie, the owner paid for it.” the man said with mockery sealing through his words, raising his head once again to make eye contact with the person across from him.

The woman retracted her hand slowly, before placing it on the table with force. Her dark blue eyes burning into the light blue ones across from her.

“Really? Pulling the middle name card now, and that’s not even right, it’s Ann not Annie. You of all people would know that.”

“How am I suppose to remember? I was 12 minutes and 37 seconds old. Mind you that it was the best 12 minutes and 37 seconds of my life.”

“That’s what you always say Ab. Be creative with your comeback for once.”

“Not everyone is as witty and straightforward as you Lee. Some people actually have a brain, like moi.”

“What a brain without knowing how to use it?”

As the banter between the two continued and they became more and more distracted from the world, the cafe door slowly opened and a smaller figure opened the peaked its head towards the bickering pair. What he saw as very normal by his standards, petals floating in the air, a lit candle flickering without a reason, silverware slowly turning by itself to face the person on the other side of the table, and the glowing bodies of two people. Seeing the obvious debate the two were in, the figure slowly shut the door, and quietly walked over to the booth.

Sensing a third presence in the room, the two in the booth looked over to see someone watching them with amusement shining in their amber eyes. Then it all stopped. The petals slowly floated down from the sky, the candle wick stayed burning bright, the silverware stopped doing circles, and the glowing presence faded away. Laughter began to echo around the cafe as the standing man clutched his chest and crocheted down, tears forming in his eyes. The other two stared at him with a glint in their eyes, as he finally calmed down and stood up fully, only to jump into the booth besides the woman. The clock behind him read 12:05.

“What are y’all on about this time? I swear you two fight over everything,” the amber eyed man stated, amusement present in his voice.

“Oh nothing Mal,” the other man replied, “ Just civil discussion between two mature individuals.”

“Yeah right, you two looked ready to fight, but then again that normal for us.”

“That is true,” the dark blue eyed woman interjected before the conversation could continue, “But what is up with you? No tears and sobbing for hugs from you. Have you finally learned that it isn’t attractive and isn’t gonna get you anywhere?”

The strawberry-blonde across from her snorted in amusement, before returning to pick at the flower petals in front of him. The amber eyed man shook his head, light brown curls falling into his eyes and circular glasses sliding down his nose.

“Jeez Ab, you would think she had some type of filter? But nope, always straight to the point and dead on.”

“She got it from mom.”

“Yup!” she said, popping the p, flipping her dark hair behind her sassily.

“That’s also why you forever alone, with just Spirit to keep you company,” the amber eyed one said causing two different reactions from the other, one of laughter and one of a scowl.

“I’ll let you know that Spirit is great company!”

“Lee, Spirit doesn’t speak English.”

“You don’t know that! Spirit can speak whatever language she wants to.”

“Lee, Spirit is a horse.”

“She’s a great horse, the best there ever was! She understands me perfectly!”

Laughter began to echos throughout the cafe once more, as the two men present toppled over, gasping for air and tears in their eyes. The woman sat there with a frown on her face, than slowly began to turn into a smirk as she too began to laugh at her previous statement. She took of her glasses to wipe the small tears leaving her smiling eyes, looking at he the two men infront of her rolling over with laughter and smiling from ear to ear.

After clam swept over them after a few minutes, the three began to feel agitated and began to side-eye the door every few seconds. After some more time passe, the curly haired man became bored, amber eyes becoming heavy with sleep.

“Is she always this late? I don’t remember her being like this, isn’t she is usually the most punctual?” he questioned looking at the woman at his side and the man across from him.

“She probably got held up with something and had to finish it. You know how she can be, having to finish every single thing before moving on?” the man across from him stated, eyeing the door as he spoke. “Here she comes now.”

The door opened, clock reading 12:20, as a woman shuffled into the cafe, her bright green eyes scanning the scene in front of her. As she walked over towards the booth in the corner, the seated three shuffled out of the booth without a word and stood in front of the approaching woman.

“Look who finally showed up to the party. What took you so long Lia?”

“Yeah, what was holding you back this time?”

“Even Mal was here before you, and that kid is never on time!”

“Yeah—wait what does that mean? Lee!”

A smile broke across the woman’s face hearing the others’ voices. She reached out her arms in a warming jester, pulling the others into a group hug. They stayed like that for a few minutes, before letting go of each other, smiles now plastered on all of their lightly freckled faces. It may look strange to others, seeing the four of them together, but to them, it was normal and it was everything. It was beautiful.

After all of their eyes met, their thoughts connected, and their hearts felt one another. As one, they slowly moved back into the booth, eyes full of joyful tears and smile lines prominent. As they all began to lean into their seats and a comfortable aura settled around, the newest newcomer spoke, opening the ears of the other three people gathered.

“So how is everything going y’all?” the blonde asked, pushing the wavy hair out of her face before turning her head to look at the other gathered at the now brighter booth. She snapped her fingers and grabbed the dinner roll in front of her, then grabbed a knife and began spreading butter all across it, before stuffing her mouth with the bread.

“It’s fine, same old same old. Chrissi got on my case a few days ago about not feeding the cat again. She also said that I need to work on my pronunciation again. Apparently it sound like a completely different language, but I don’t think it can be that bad,” the blue eyed man answered back, slowly cutting the warm sandwich on his plate with a knife.

“ Trust Chrissi’s judgement on that Ab,” the blue eyed woman retorted back, “she is better than you will ever be. You should have her teach you Dutch too, but you struggle enough with learning another language anyway. Same with you and German Mal, have Addie teach you a few tricks.”

The amber eyed man scoffed at the statement, mumbling under his breath about it being easy, while the blue eyed man responded,“ It’s hard though, it doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Abel, you literally read it how its written, the pronunciation doesn’t change,” the curly hair man added, finally speaking up and drawing his attention away from his stack of pancakes.

“Have you heard her dad speak, that is definitely not the same language I learned.”

“You’ve meet her parents before? I thought they were still mad at her. I thought she only got along well with Charlotte,” the brunette questioned, picking up her phone to take a photo of the fancy salad on the table.

“She insisted on trying to make up with them, but it didn’t go very well. Charlotte was at a concert, so she couldn’t help that much.”

“What did they say this time?”

“Same things as usual, you know how they are.”

The other three hummed and nodded in response, agreeing with the other. Silence crept into the booth slowly as the mood began to darken once again. The four people gathered at the corner booth looked at each other, uncertain of what to say and when to say it. After a few seconds of quiet, a voice broke the sleepy aura that had settled in the cafe, coming from the youngest.

“Addie said a few days ago that few wanted to meet up with Bryan and Chrissi again. All of us haven’t been together in ages,” the curly haired man said, looking at the other gathered with curiosity in his eyes, waiting for a response of anytype, good or bad.

“True. It has been a while,” the other brunette replied. “But gathering all together again would take even longer.”

“I agree. It would be hard and complicated, but it would be so worth it, seeing the smiles on their faces and the happiness in the air. Imagine that scene, it seems beautiful and it seems so worth it. Come on, we should do it.”

“Let’s do it! It would be nice to all be here,” said the strawberry-blonde, ending the conversation as soon as it had started. He suddenly stood up and walked out of the cafe, looking back only to nod at the other three that were following him, standing and walking out of the booth towards the door.

As the last person walked out the door, she stopped. The blonde woman turned around and snapped her fingers, and everything in the cafe went back to how it should of been. Satifished with the layout of the cafe, she turned around and shut the door quietly. The clock read 1:00, the sun rising to its highest point shining across the blue and cloudy sky, lighting up the usually dark Sunday cafe scene that had become so very common on that day. The four individuals made eye contact for the last time before turning away from each other, each heading in their own directions, down their own paths. And just like that, the world started moving, life returning to the casual way it was. The streets lit up with light and color, like something that was holding it back had been overcome.

After that day, everything seems to move so fast. The days began to pass quicker and quicker, the colors around the small nameless cafe began to change. From pinks and purples to oranges and reds to whites to greens and yellows, season by season, year by year. The area began to age, streets becoming more quiet and worn down as each season past. The cafe kept its popularity with the locals, soon becoming available every day instead of six. The world slowly began to change too as the years slowly passed, until the world stood still once again like before. It was in that same town, on that same street corner, in the same small, comfy cafe that lit up the area around it.

                                                        —————

On a bright Friday, the cafe sat there between its two street corners, people shuffling in and out. The smell of warm food and refreshing drinks travelling down the block. That day, in the large back corner booth, across from the ticking clock, sat two people. A man sat on the right, strawberry-blonde hair tied back and bangs covering his baby blue eyes and freckled face. Across from him, on the left, sat a woman. Her eyes a cold chocolate brown, hair straight blonde with dark roots and bangs, mole below her right eye adding to her looks. They sat there in quiet, the man eating a warm toasted sandwich and the woman drink a warm dark coffee decorated with cream and designs. Between them sat a beautiful display, colorful with autumn decor, pumpkins, leaves, and even corn. The man looked over at the opposite wall, clock reading 11:50. He turned back to the woman across from him, their eyes meeting. She placed her cup down, half-full, stood up with care, and walked over to man across from her, who stared at her with curiosity and wonder. She reached for the napkin on the table near the silverware, grabbing it, and slowly reaching down to wipe the sauce from his face. She placed the napkin down again and moved back to her seat, shuffling back into her seat across from the man, satisfied with her work. To the side of the booth, down a small hallway, a small figure waddled down the hallway. Dirty-blonde hair sweeping around her, warm mocha eyes sparkling with excitement she ran as fast as she could to the booth where the couple sat. She stopped in front of the booth, crawling into the seat by the woman, becoming entranced with the pink strawberries in front of her and began to gorge them up.

“Don’t eat them to fast sweetie, you will get a stomach ache.”

“Ok!”

The man smiled at the interactions between the two, the sight warming his heart even more. Noticing the glowing smile from the young girl, he thought and more strawberries appeared in from of her, a shriek of joy widening his smile more than before.

“Honey, don’t do that. She will get sick from eating all of them.”

“She’ll be ok, right Minne?”

“I be ok,” replied the young girl, no more than two years of age. She then continued to stuff her mouth with the ripe strawberries, savoring every bite.

The man laughed loudly at the sight while the woman let out a defeated chuckle, rubbing her hand on the young girl’s head affectionately, messing up her braided crown. The three sat there in silence, enjoying the quiet company of each other. People began to walk in and out of the cafe, the fast pace of their footsteps creating an echo of melody that blended perfectly with the quiet chatter of the neighboring booths and seats scattered throughout the cafe. As the clock struck 11:59, a new figure entered the cafe, long coat whisking behind them as the cold breeze filled the cafe, sending a chill down the assembly’s spines. As the figure walked towards the corner booth occupied by three, heels clicking to the rhythm of her walk, she was stopped by someone halfway there.

“Hurry up! Sit down with us and have some food!”

“Alright Min, I’m coming.”

The two figures, one small, the other tall, walked towards the booth where they were both greeted with affectionate hugs and warm hearts. Small chatter began between the blonde and the brunette woman, both sets of eyes glistening with tears and sparkling with happiness, as they sat down together, the youngest now sitting with the man across from them.

“It’s been so long, I’m so happy to see you!”

“Same, I’ve missed getting together with you all! How have you been?”

“I’ve been good.”

As the conversation between the two women became more engaging, the man and young girl across from them became immersed within their own world, playing carefully with the abundant amounts of food in front of them. Laughter filled the booth as happiness surrounded them.

As the clock struck 12:05, the cafe became quiet except for the shuffle ping feet of people moving entering the cafe. At this time, four new figures entered the cafe, holding hands in a silent gesture of trust. The young girl noticed them, crawling out of the booth and running towards the new figures, bright light filling the cafe, warming the chilly air around them.

“Come on, hurry up before the food gets cold!”

“Ok Minnie!” One of the figures said, following the other young girl back to her seat, crawling into the seat next to her.

Following slowly behind them was another young girl, brown hair and blue eyes staring at the figure in front of her, like a mirror looking back at themselves. Behind her, two taller figures sat next to each other in the booth, the brunette man conversing with the the others across from him while the woman next to him began a cheerful conversation with the others. The children controlled by the food in front of them, stuffing their faces with the warm sandwich and drinks that the cafe had brought.

As the minutes passed by like seconds, a final three figures entered the cafe, a smaller one between, walking with a grove in his step. As the clock as at the minute of 12:20, the three walked over to the booth, blonde hair shining in the midday sun next to the dark red, warmth peeking through in highlights. They walked towards the corner booth, and sat down becoming imetenly immersed into the conversations present, of food and of love.

All of them gathered there were happy, for love, for family, for friends. As the hours passed the conversation grew brighter, laughter filling the booth in the back corner. Even into the late hours of the night when everyone else had left, the group was still there, a warm light surrounding them all. A light that would shine for generations to come, through the ages to follow. As the conversation began to end, and the people shuffled out of the booth, they all stood together, hand in hand, heart with heart, before they all disappeared with a dim flash of light. But the warmth was still there, the memories still strong, the bonds never to be broken. The cafe stayed bright after that day, the town never having bad weather or even a bad thought. All thanks to that light, that spark, that feeling of all those people together. A feeling that put smiles on faces, and filled eyes with joy. A feeling that would never fade for ages.

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