JURY DUTY • by Dana Hufe

They had met at jury duty. A strange place to find an admirer. She didn’t want to go. It was raining out, and she had been watching a movie on her couch. She hadn’t moved much from her couch in the past several days, but for this she had no choice. Naturally I was excited for the rain. When the sun hides is when I shine. Every gray, rainy outing with her delighted me to my very core. I like to feel needed.

I remember that day was the first time I heard her laugh. She was with him. It was something he had said that triggered it, and it rang out so tremendously and I remember thinking that there is nothing in this world as precious as hearing somebody’s true laugh for the first time. They were walking through the cobbled streets as cars passed by, making swooshing noises through the puddles, and I was there, practically unnoticed. Her shiny yellow boots bouncing more-so than walking, next to his black sneakers, hardly fit for such weather.

They walked back from the courthouse together for a little bit and then parted at the corner. His car was parked in the other direction. He said it was a pleasure to have met her. She agreed and turned away. As she left she hid a smile under her lips and there was a giddiness in her step and I felt so honored to have been a part of that, if even just as a witness. He turned back around and called back to her. He asked if she wanted to grab a cup of coffee.

The door dinged as they strode through it. The café smelled of fresh grounds and the air brimmed with pleasant conversation. The hostess guided them to a table and I hung back. I watched as they ordered sweet pastries and coffee. The fact that they were strangers seemed to melt away as they spoke with the ease of long-time friends. Then, as if by some incredible grace of God, the rain outside the café windows stopped and the clouds parted, and gentle beams of sun trickled in. They looked outside and commented about the fortune in the change of weather. What was fortune for them was abandonment for me. They took their coats from the backs of their chairs and left. They left me there.

Unmoving, I stared at the wood of the hostess stand, as the sun seeped into me through the glass door and the constant conversations riddled on.

At first I was hurt. She’d found a boy and she’d forgotten about me. Resentment simmered inside me, but it passed with time as all things do. After two dry weeks, it started to drizzle outside again. Someone walked up next to me, peered outside, paused, considering, and then snatched me up and off we went, the swinging door dinging as we left.

When I finally emerged into the white cloudy light of the day, I did not expect to see them — but through the crowd, among the shuffling feet, I spotted a pair of yellow boots trotting next to a pair of black sneakers, and with that I felt comfort.

Dana Hufe currently resides in Delaware and has loved writing since she was a child. She just finished a year of being an au pair in Vienna, Austria and writes about her travels and experience on her blog. She plans on studying videography and digital storytelling next year in Austin.

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Every Day Fiction