The bell rings as the door opens. Carly walks in, bundled in the same big red ski jacket that she always wears. She has on black leggings and rainboots, too. She’s such a weirdo, I think, laughing to myself. Such a goofy girl. Pretty, funny… but she’s my weirdo. A little smile spreads across her rosey cheeks as she walks up to me and I smile right back at her, grinning over my cup of coffee.
“Hey,” she says, unwrapping her scarf.
But her nose scrunches up as I say this. “Lou?”
“I told you that I would not stay to talk if you were still smoking.”
“I know. ”
She closes her eyes slowly, sighs heavily, and then says, “ok, I’m leaving.”
“No,” I say, gently grabbing her arm. “Wait.”
“You smell like smoke, Lou,” and she twists her arm away. Her boots squeak as she stomps out of the restaurant. The bell over the door rings as she leaves. Then I get up and chase after her. The bell rings again. Outside, I scan the street and the sidewalk for her. I scan the alleys and the inside of Ubers that are stopped in traffic. But I can’t find her. She’s gone. So I light a cigarette and I head back home.