She was dressed in a floral T-Shirt – pink hippy colour, a short school skirt above the knees. He was in a long checked shirt, Bermudas, ringlets down to the ears, her’s were swept back, they could have been siblings but not by the way he followed her, languidly and behind, eyes up and down, imitating his father or brothers, he already knew how to behave like a man.
They sat down on the high backed sofa, a mango ice cooler between them, blushing, laughing, shooting little glances at each other. He tried to act like he didn’t care, like he hadn’t seen her looking at his thighs, he was cautious of leaning in too far, aware of her breath, but then she gave him a kiss, which he accepted, although he thrust the straw back in his mouth immediately. But it gave her confidence, the kiss, she turned towards him, her body at an angle, she talked more, excitedly barring her braced teeth and showing him images on her iPhone, he leaned in then but suddenly retracted, shifting his body away and letting his arm rest along his leg, she looked round disconcerted and offered him more mango, handing him the cup but keeping her fingers on his hand, as he drank she intertwined her straw with his, she brought him back.
They would have to leave soon and go to movie theatre where the film would separate them, she doesn’t have much time to put forward her proposition. She leans forward, her elbow on his shoulder and whispers. One hand’s flung protectively over his belly, perhaps he is worried about getting fat or there is something more he has to hide, just one kiss that was all, their bodies are touching now, shoulders, thighs, frustration makes him balance the menu on his head- it’s one of those tall cylindrical shaped ones. The drink’s almost finished but she tries to spin it out. If he had more money he’d buy them a Ciabatta and then they wouldn’t have to go into the movie, they could sit and eat.
How long are they going to stay like this in the cafe? The night’s closing in, it’s nearly time for the film. He’s far away, he’s thinking about being 5 years older, when he’s 20 and them zooming through lanes on his motorbike, taking the high road to freedom. He mentions this to her and she laughs with relief and a bit nervously, flicking her hair like an anxious mare, but then she rubs her chin. She does this when she feels confused. He’s throwing the menu up and down now, catching it with trembling hands. Why wait til 20? he says. Why not now? It’s what she’s been wanting to hear, she flings herself in his arms, knocking off his baseball cap. He pulls her to her feet, it is time for the movie, they step up the stairs, their arms around each other’s waists. They’ll think about running away later.