Pon stepped out of the bright blue taxi, her pink skirt rising up and showing more than enough of her fair skinned thigh to catch the attention of the table full of office men sitting just outside the front doors of the Star Coffee Shop.
She glanced about the patio and spotting Seth gave a smile, wave, and a bit of a curtsy.
Seth acknowledged her with little enthusiasm and walked to the curb to meet her. “Where have you been? You’re late.”
“Not so much. Its Bangkok Seth, rot dit mag (traffic was terrible),” she explained.
“Well I came through the same traffic, but anyway… Let’s get a table inside. It’s too hot out here to drink hot coffee.”
“You could always have a cold coffee.”
He didn’t bother to answer. In all his years living in America he had drunk hot coffee and to him the idea of putting in ice, sweetener, and God forbid whip cream was unthinkable. Thailand was a sweltering land, but still quality coffee should be enjoyed hot.
Pon ordered for them on their way passed the counter. It was easier for her to speak Thai to the waiters because Seth’s accent was thick and at times completely a mystery to the workers who had not originally come from Bangkok. The natives to the city of angles had grown accustomed to the Farang’s (white foreigners to Thailand) toneless mutterings. But some worker fresh from the north or north-east would struggle greatly with the lack of lilt and pace in the Western man’s Thai.
They were lucky and found a table near the back by the enormous window. Water ran over this rectangle pane creating a soothing blurring of vision. As Lad Plakao road ran just behind the glass it made for an attractive sight as car lights, especially red break lights, glowed through the enchanting watery transparency.
Pon leaned back exhaling a cloud of smoke just above Seth’s head; it was her way of avoiding choking him with her self indulgence and usually avoiding his scrutiny. On most days this token effort was enough, but he was particularly sensitive today and the smoke – although it missed him completely – seemed to set him off. His hand came hammering down on the table, sending the utensils jumping.
“Sorry,” she offered mechanically, her face turning down so as not to make eye contact with the curious coffee house crowd which had all been startled by the noise. Thai people seldom argued in public as drawing attention to one’s problem was a complete loss of face.
Within a few seconds a waiter, dressed in the establishment’s uniform of a brown polo shirt and gray pants, released a steaming blast of aromatic coffee into a ceramic mug as he began crafting a cappuccino. The many patrons, realizing they weren’t going to hear a thing over the whine of that machine, returned to their reading or Internet surfing.
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