Everyone at the coffee shop had a Mac except me. This was likely the case all along but the amount of people inside the shop due to the heat wave made it obvious. I bought my PC laptop used on Amazon from guy whose username was a mix of a date – most likely his birthday – and gen one Pokemon. The laptop ran on Windows 7. It wasn’t great in any way but it was mine. I used it to work, play Minecraft and watch porn.
Alex: Enjoying Taylor Swift?
I expected Alex to message me at this point in the afternoon. It was four on the east coast, and I knew by then he’d given up on work for the day.
Me: Maybe I am. I saw you listening to Beyoncé yesterday.
Alex: Yeah, but Beyonce’s done some great stuff. She’s earned my respect.
A man walked over and sat across from me at the back table where I always worked. He pulled from his leather bag a Mac and placed it on the counter. Over the Apple logo was a sticker of a different logo, one I didn’t recognize.
Me: Watch it, buddy or I’ll take you off my friends list.
I watched the man drink a an iced mocha from a large glass he placed next to his Mac. Anything helped, including this back table underneath the AC. I was surprised no one figured this out before this guy.
I wasn’t going to take Alex off my friends list but I did want to see what he’d say. He was the only guy I kept in contact with from high school. This was a recent development. I ran into him at the beach when I was home two months ago. Before then we hadn’t talked in years.
Alex: I’m just fucking with you.
I looked up and noticed the man was waving at me. I pulled out my left earbud.
“Do you mind watching my stuff for a sec?” he asked.
“No problem,” I said.
The man nodded and walked out with his phone in his hand. That guy was like me. He didn’t want to take calls in the coffee shop. That’s just rude, especially when someone’s sitting across from you, enjoying the AC because it’s so damn hot everywhere else.
Me: Yeah I know, sorry about that.
Alex: You haven’t changed since high school. You’re still so sensitive.
Me: Wow man, like you’ve changed so much? Tell your mom and dad I said hi when you go home.
“Thanks man,” the guy said and sat back down.
I nodded, replaced my earbud and looked back to my screen. Nothing. After twenty minutes I saw Alex signed off, or made himself invisible. I scrolled through my Spotify feed and looked at who was listening to what. Most of those I followed I hadn’t talked to in a while.
I stretched my arms and accidentally pulled out my earbuds from the computer jack. Taylor Swift blasted from my laptop speaker. The man looked up to me and laughed, hard. He laughed and shook his head with his eyes shut.
Me: Feel free to jab at me for listening to Taylor Swift whenever.
Whether Alex read my message I wasn’t sure. But that guy’s laughter. It played in my head long after I left the shop and into the heat.