A Missed Opportunity

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A brother and sister arrange to meet at a cafe after not seeing each other for nineteen years.

Submitted: September 06, 2016

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Submitted: September 06, 2016



A Missed Opportunity.


She took her seat in the Rose Cafe and waited patiently. She didn’t want to order until he arrived. Going by the clock on the wall she’d only be waiting five more minutes; that was if he was on time, of course.


She watched the people coming and going but there was no sign of him. Ten, fifteen, twenty minutes and he has still not turned up. She couldn’t have missed him, not recognised him; there had been no unaccompanied men entering the cafe at all. The staff were starting to stare at her. She was taking up a seat, a table and had not yet ordered anything.


She went to the counter and bought coffee and a plate of cakes. Her brother had always had a sweet tooth and she doubted that would have changed, although how long was it since she had seen or spoken to him – must be close on twenty years. An awful lot could have changed in that time! She’d still recognise him though, surely.


But as she sat there waiting she realised that she had not even seen a photo for at least fifteen of those years. They’d know each other though, they were brother and sister.......As more time passed, she started to have her doubts.


He was an hour late now. She’d give him ten more minutes, just in case he’d got the hour wrong. It was typical though. He’d never been that reliable with dates, with keeping appointments, anything like that. When he’d phoned her out of the blue she had wondered if it was a joke, a hoax. But who in her life now would have even known about her brother? Nobody. She had never, ever mentioned him; not to her best friend, not even to her partner.


She got up to leave, the plate of cakes untouched on the table. She told herself that it didn’t matter, that she didn’t care. He must have just changed his mind. She walked out of the cafe and crossed the road.


* * * * *


He arrived at the Cafe Rosa at exactly the right time. Spot on, in fact, which was unusual for him. He didn’t know the area but the street was right; this had to be the place. A quick scan of the tables – there were a few lone women drinking tea or coffee, reading or texting. None of them could be his sister. They all looked way too young or far too old. She must have been held up.


She was always busy, his sister. When she was a teenager she always had somewhere to go or someone to see. Not for her the empty diary. When he’d peeked in it, just once, every day seemed to have something written in. She was good at time-keeping, at organizing her life. She wouldn’t be long.


The waitress was hovering but he wasn’t surprised. He had been sitting at one of their tables for fifteen minutes. He ordered coffee, black, no sugar. He thought about ordering cakes but didn’t – he’d been off the sweet stuff for years and his sister had never been a fan. He could always order something else later on.


The time kept passing. He saw several possible candidates but was sure they weren’t her. He’d recognise her, even after nineteen years. And anyway, none of them looked as though they were waiting for someone. No, she wasn’t here. She hadn’t shown up.


Perhaps he’d muddled up the hour. He’d give it a chance; after all he had already been sitting here waiting for forty-five minutes. Another fifteen would not make any difference. The hour passed with still no sign of her. She’d changed her mind, then. She hadn’t sounded that eager when he’d phoned her, but still......An arrangement was an arrangement. She must have changed. He’d never known her to just not bother about something before.


He’d give it ten more minutes. If she hadn’t turned up then, fair enough. She’d have made her feelings clear and he would not bother her again.


As he stood up he had one final glance around, just in case he’d missed her. But no, she wasn’t there. He walked out of the cafe and crossed the road.


* * * * *


If they had both looked up at the passers-by, brother and sister might have seen each other. At one stage on the crossing they were just inches apart walking in the opposite directions. If they had looked up, would they have recognised each other? Nineteen years is a long time, but who knows!



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