Evan sat in the corner of the coffee shop slowly sipping his drink as he did every weekday morning. Maybe today would be the day, he thought. The day his cover was blown. The place was filled with familiar strangers. He’d been coming here long enough to be considered a regular. He didn’t even have to order out loud anymore. Most of the other patrons there today were the same. Which one would figure him out? Would it be hat girl, who never sat in the same place twice? She was wearing hat number eight today. What about chest hair guy. No, not him. No one who spent that much time checking himself out with a camera phone would notice things that had nothing to do with him. Except hat girl of course.
Turning to look out the window, Evan caught sight of his reflection. Average, he thought. Mousy brown hair, straight nose, strong chin, there was nothing to stand out about him. That suited him perfectly in this place. He didn’t want any attention that would lead to discovery.
As he took another drink he wondered how these people would react if they knew. Would they think he was un-American? Unmanly maybe. Last week he overheard the older couple that come in on Mondays talking about him. They assumed he was shy. What would they say if the truth came out.
He turned back to continue his perusal of the people in the cafe. The pretty blonde sat in the opposite corner from him, as always. She was aware of him, he could feel it, but he hoped she would never approach him. He wanted to talk to her but it just wasn’t in the cards. If he ever ran into her somewhere else, maybe he would. Away from the coffee house, he had nothing to hide. He shook himself to clear his head and to stop staring at the woman.
Glancing around he saw the hipster that often parked himself near the front window was staring at the barista standing at the cash register. That guy didn’t worry Evan. The barista. Now she and her coworkers were aware of his secret. He dreaded the day one of them let the cat out of the bag but he had no control over that, so he dismissed the thought.
Checking his watch, he saw he could stay another twenty minutes. Indecision gripped him. His cup was almost empty. If he got a refill, the entire place would know. His mind raced and he started to sweat. The fear made him angry and he decided he wasn’t going to let it take him over.
He stood, and noticed all eyes turned to him. He held his head up high and walked to the counter. It came out louder than he meant, but maybe that was for the best. “Can I get another hot tea?”
There were several gasps behind him. A newspaper hit the floor. Someone whispered. He only caught the word tea and something about this being a coffee shop. He risked a peek at the blonde. She had her hand over her mouth and her eyes were wide.
The lady behind the counter handed him the cup and winked. “Bless your heart honey.”
As Evan made his way back to his table, he made eye contact with each of the other customers. They each in turn looked away. Probably embarrassed for him, he figured. He had never felt so free.
They could piss off, he was going to drink his tea with pride. Too bad about that blonde though.