He sat in the window of the coffee shop, letting his coffee go cold as he stared at the people passing on the street absentmindedly. His notebook lay open in his lap, forgotten. His new assignment at work completely failing to inspire him. His phone was faced down on the table so that he couldn't see it when it lit up as his girlfriend rang him to check up, berate him or otherwise just invade his bubble of solitude.
He wasn't sure whenhe had begun to feel just so, disatisfied, but the feeling had certainly settled upon him with a vengeance.
He reached for his mug and wished it was a pint, although knowing that if he did go and drink, he would get it in the neck from his girlfriend and it just wasn't worth it. How had he ended up with a girl so different from himself? She knew nothing of Star Wars, nor of obscure music bands like Reuben. She had no piercings or tattoos. She was just... So proper.
There was a chorus of laughter from the otherside of the glass, loud enough to bring him out of his reverie.
His jaw dropped.
Though he hadn't been able to place it immediately, he knew that laugh. He knew the girl on the pavement before him though her hair was longer than when they had last seen each other, and dark again, much more like when they had first met.
She was standing, talking on the phone as she waited for the lights to change so that she could cross the street.
He stared transfixed, trying to listen to her voice through the sounds of the city and using his memories of her singing at clubs, of her talking about something enthusiastically over lunch, of her calling his name out when they were in bed together, to fill in the blanks where the other noises swept away her words.
She was dressed in a denim mini-skirt just like the ones he remembered her in, her longer hair tied up in a scrappy ponytail - showing off the piercing in the back of her neck that he remembered her getting, there was a sci-fi slogan on her t-shirt that he remembered writing on her arm one night.
She was more beautiful than he remembered.
He stood up, spontaneously wanting to talk to her again.
He was by the door when she turned around. Her eyes met his and passed over, no sign of recognition until they met those of a man standing a few yards away from her on the street outside. This man she knew, and, as she threw her arms around his neck, her engagement ring sparkling in the sun, it was clear that this man she loved.
While he was left standing in the coffee shop. Realising that not only had he missed his chance but that he was always going to regret it.