Habiba hid a giggle behind her coffee cup. The poor man sitting across from her was trying to impress her just as much as the jazz band in the corner. Breathy out of tune notes fought with each other resonating like an overly intense ping-pong game. The drummer muddled through the cadence with a perpetual smile that simply said he would rather like to eat her soul, if she would be so kind. The bassist stared out the store front window dreaming of a cello teacher with white teeth and perfectly straight brown hair. There Habiba’s date fidgeted in front of them all. A jazz singer with no words.
‘Would you like to get coffee sometime?’ he asked one sunny morning. Her mother would have chastised her for dating random men she met on the street, but something about him said a date couldn’t hurt. There he was in an ill fitting suit, glasses two sizes too big for his face, and purple sneakers peeking out from under his pant legs like shy children hiding behind the curtains.
He shifted again and again laughing each time. Did he want to lean on his right elbow? Left? Maybe try to show off good posture? Maybe a slouch? What position showed he really wanted to impress her? Which drink said he loves music, books, art, and long conversation on a moonlit beaches? Just to be safe he ordered an espresso, cappuccino, americano, and mocha. He shifted from one drink to the next. There he was a man of jazz shifting to meet the cues of the others. A timid smile quivering across his lips only to snap away when seen.
Habiba hid a warm giggle behind her coffee cup. ‘Be careful of random men on the street,’ her mother would say. Of course be careful, they might snatch up your heart and run away never to return.
“You have beautiful eyes,” he whispered.