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She stares at her tea to keep from looking at him. The silence is thick and heavy in the air, like the smell of buttered toast. She wishes they could be alone but the café is teeming with people, all engaged in their own conversations. Yet, she feels like, if she spoke, everyone would turn to look at her and then her voice would break and tears would leak from her eyes and it would be what he hates most; a scene.

He says nothing and this makes her chest tight because her mind starts imagining his words for him, each iteration getting progressively worse until she’s bordering on panic. She peeks at him, a quick, stolen glance. He’s working his way through his eggs as if nothing was wrong. As if this was the most normal morning on the most normal day of the year. As if today was just any old day. He raises his coffee to his lips, sips, puts it down. Back to his eggs. The normalcy of his gestures is maddening.

Her toast and jam is forgotten and her hands shake as she reaches for her tea. The clink-clink of the china makes her duck, as if to hide from the sound or the attention it might bring. She wants to disappear, to fade into the background and never be seen again. Instead, she sips her tea and waits. He’ll speak. He’ll tell her what to do. He always does.

Image credit: Mission2Mum