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.

He was the epitome of a man of routine; struggling with change, new approaches, even with putting on the new clothing which her father’s generous allowance allowed her to lavish upon him. He was afraid of anything unfamiliar to a nearly manic extent and this was getting worse seemingly with each passing week.

He leaned on routine especially when he was stressed. The weekend after her confession to him of a romantic indiscretion – an “I didn”t mean for it to happen’ type of offense – they’d driven to a restaurant which they often visited and when on arrival someone was seated at their usual table, he turned to her and with no particular annoyance or contemplation said, “Well, it’s taken so let’s go for Chinese food instead.”

She knew his mind was far too preoccupied with their problems for her to point out that there were several other tables – albeit not the one which faced out toward the fish pond he loved – which were available. She nodded her agreement and they silently departed. They went for Chinese food; sitting at the table they always sat at located near a tall Ficus which he enjoyed hiding their conversation behind. He was always in contradiction with himself about being in public, desiring privacy while being out – wanting crowds and noise to keep things lively – but wanting to observe it from solitude and serenity, from his private reserve.

The coffee house waiter came around to deliver his American Black coffee upon a saucer. The Thai customers would come up to the counter to get their drinks when the workers would bellow or wave to them that it was finished. However, Seth had given no indication that he spoke Thai and so rather than have a miss understanding, the young man just walked it out and set it in front of him.

Seth would add two packets of sugar to the drink, stir with five quick circular churns, and then – before it had cooled in the slightest – take a lip smacking sip. Once he had finished this ceremony she knew his mood would mellow. She waited.

“And will we go to the sea tomorrow night or should we put that off?” he asked between the stirring and the drinking.

“Why would we put it off, we’ve been planning it for a couple of weeks now? You said you were looking forward to it.”

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