"So you're busy tomorrow night?" Julie took off her earring as she pressed her cell phone to her ear. She stood up straight in her chair. She sat at their table at their coffee shop. "But you said that we were going downtown so I bought--well, yes, you said that you might have other plans and that you would check but I talked to you on Monday."
She closed her eyes and tears splashed on the table. "Joe, I thought that we were ringing in the New Year together. I just talked to you."
"Look, Julie. We've had a great time together. Didn't I spend Christmas with you and your family? Didn't we have a good time? It's just, you know, I feel like we've had fun together but it's time to start the New Year fresh. You're a great girl, Julie, but I think you want something more from me than I want to give right now. I'm sorry." Joe sounded the same as he did at her family's house. Pleasant, conversational, like nothing was wrong. "Call up Amber and Liz. Don't worry. You'll go out and forget all about me, Jule."
"Joe, I don't think you understand--" Her voice tightened as she gripped her cup of coffee. The paper cup began to collapse and spill on the counter. "My coffee--I spilled--hold on--"
"I'll let you get that. You'll be ok, Julie. Take care." He hung up.
Julie stood up with a red nose and a wet face. She clicked her phone off and swallowed a sob. The chair at their table scraped the wooden floor and fell over. Julie looked down and almost burst out when someone picked up the chair and handed her napkins. She felt herself sit down and watched someone wipe off the table. Julie whirled her head around and saw that guy that always sat by the window when she was there.
"Thanks," she said and wiped her face. She didn't bother smiling, but dialed Amber's number on her phone.
"Yeah, Amber? Thank God I got you. You'll never guess what Joe just did to me." Julie stood up, pushed her chair in and grabbed her crumpled cup. That guy put a new empty cup in front of her and she poured her coffee into it.
"Let me guess. He broke up with you." Amber's voice was caustic as ever and it felt like a warm hug to hear it.
"Yeah, Amber. That's exactly what he did. I can't believe it. He said he loved me. I thought he was the one. Wait, hold on, Amber."
Julie buttoned her coat and picked up the phone off their table. "Yeah. Can you believe it? I thought he loved me as much as I loved him. He must have planned this all along. Why can I never meet anyone nice? Oh no, my gloves. I can't find my gloves. Those were the ones my grandma gave me."
That guy appeared by the door with her gloves in his hands.
"You dropped these on the floor by your table." He handed them to her and pushed his brown hair away from his glasses.
"Thank you so much. These were given to me by my grandma--hold on, Amber. Thank you. See you around! Happy New Year's! Yeah,Amber? There's this guy at the coffee shop, he found them on the floor and just gave them to me. Yeah, I know, that was nice. So, what are you guys doing tonight?" Julie pulled open the door and the wind slapped her in the face.
"We're going to a Western bar, probably Cork and Kerry's. Nothing exciting. I always knew that guys was a complete jerk. I never told you this but I always thought that he was a big phony. What a jerk. Breaking up with you on New Year's Eve? Idiot. Well, at least you found your gloves. I know much they mean to you. Remember when you lost them in my car and you took half an hour at midnight to find them? They're from your grandma and when you wear them you remember her, right? Someone who loved you unconditionally. Just because you're you. Unlike that moron--"
"Unconditionally," Julie said outloud. She looked into the window and saw that guy looking back at her through the foggy glass. She stopped and stared back. "Amber, I'll call you right back."