Feb. 27th, 2017

// foreigners

Feb. 27th, 2017 03:13 pm
travlinlight: (// no. 4)

"A cafe latte for Shirley, I've got a cafe latte for Shirley!"

Starbucks was otherwise always a hub of effectivity, but today it had nevertheless taken them seven whole minutes to prepare her coffee, long enough time that she had managed to write down the other woman's name on paper, in her favourite pen that could be neatly erased in case of errors, but it simply said Michelle right now in block capitals - like a temporary title sheet, until she came up with something better, something that weren't already taken.

In every way.

Shiori got to her feet, while Michelle who was sitting in a large armchair on the other side of the table glanced up from the jazz magazine she'd been in the middle of reading. "Wait, they said for Shirley," she hurried to tell her in English, as if trying to translate the barista's words to a more accessible language, knowing full well that Shiori still struggled with French, even after three years at its mercy.

"I'm Shirley," answered Shiori with a half-laugh. Wandered up to the counter and picked up her cafe latte which had a failed tree dripped into the foam. Had it been at a coffee shop in Tokyo, they'd have apologized wholeheartedly, regretted even this minor mistake. In Luxembourg City, however, the barista only raised an eyebrow at her, because Shiori clearly didn't look like someone by the name of Shirley.

"Shirley," Michelle repeated inquiringly when Shiori once again sunk into her own seat. In that one question, she undoubtedly sounded like the westener with the most Western name in the whole wide world.

"No one here can spell Shiori anyway."

Even as the Japanese baristas wrote her name in hiragana, although strictly it should be in kanji, simply because hiragana was easier to read aloud correctly, there was a homeliness to the characters, to the lines and the pressure of the pen that reminded her of Father's eggplant dishes on a Friday evening or Mother's muted conversations over the phone from inside her office at all times. Shirley, on the other hand, had been scribbled across the side of the cup in block capitals no prettier than Shiori's own and reminded her of nothing but the fact that she had a sloppy handwriting.

"I'd never thought about that, must have seen your name on the billboards too often." Michelle returned to her magazine. Only briefly did Shiori smile at her, at her eyes that were focused elsewhere, before she put down her coffee and leaned in over her notepad again. Politely refrained from commenting on how Michelle still pronounced her family name with the most marked, I-like sound you could imagine, despite the indubitably plenty of times she'd seen it in writing, despite all the time they'd known each other. Shiori Enomoto, she wrote, slowly and carefully beneath Michelle's already noted name. As a sort of reminder.

Like a schoolgirl's heartache in blue ink.

Still, it didn't look right, neither did it sound the way it should. The way it was supposed to.

She erased Michelle, was left with her own name, written in the lonesome and in reverse, along an uneven line of Latin letters. She sighed.

Supposedly, she'd have to start over, one more time.

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