Sunday, November 01, 2009


Billy wanted to be the kind of easygoing person that everyone likes. He wanted to be cool: but he wasn’t.

Every morning Billy walked past _La Petite Café_ and saw all the happy customers reading or chatting or laughing, normal people who didn’t have a single care. Every morning Billy thought, “I’m going to go in there one day.”

One morning he awoke before sunrise and, after trying for some time to get back to sleep, he got out of bed and sat near a window watching the distant city lights. Today was the day.

It was a crisp morning in the middle of winter; the moon was hiding in the daytime sky and Billy was watching the café from across the road. His bloodless hands felt tingly and alien. His pulse thumped clearly in his left ear.

“Today is the day,” Billy told himself as he walked towards the café.

He took a deep breath and reached for the door handle, pulled when he should have pushed: the door closed with a bang. Everyone turned to look at him. His face flushed and he felt a cold bead of sweat ran from his armpit.

This wasn’t how he thought it would be.

Once inside he shuffled to the counter his fists clenched tight. He scrunched up his toes too when the waitress asked him to repeat his order.

Billy collected his cup and walked with great caution towards an empty table. There was a pool of cold coffee in his saucer by the time he sat down. His face was burning; his hands cold, damp and shaky.

“Today is the day,” Billy repeated to himself as he pulled a diary and a pen out of his bag.

Turning to a blank page he wrote, “Amongst the Spheres,”

He stopped and frowned at what he’d written.

After some moments he added, “Darkness for light-years.”

He was pulled from his reverie by the laughter of a young woman at an adjacent table. She was engrossed in a book and didn’t seem to care that people were looking at her.

It was then that he realised that what he’d hoped for hadn’t come to pass. His release, his transformation, his metamorphosis, hadn’t taken place.

“Damn this fear,” he thought. “And now I’ve stayed too long; they’re waiting to get my table back.” He started to panic, flung his diary into his bag and marched out of the shop.

He didn’t see the girl with the book trying to catch his eye as he left.