After waking up in cold sweat yet again, I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid the inevitable anymore. I climbed out of my sweat soaked sheets and stumbled into the small bathroom. I started the shower, blinded by the darkness, and peeled off my pajamas before engulfing myself into the frigid water.
I decided that I couldn’t handle having these awful dreams any longer. I’ve had nightmares all my life, but this was different. These felt real. The darkness and demons were nipping at my fingers in the real world. I just wanted to know what the fuck was going on.
A gray sweatshirt and faded blue jeans awaited me from the pile of folded laundry in the corner of my room. The thought passed through my head that I should probably put those clothes away, but almost just as quickly I turned away from it and dressed myself. There were no clean socks though – I went through those too quick to keep clean constantly. I grimaced and pulled on my sneakers without socks, and grabbed my cell phone and keys, shoving them into my pockets.
I tiptoed down the stairs so I wouldn’t wake up Miss Hall. I laughed a bit to myself at how secretive I was being – she slept like a log. Not even an earthquake could wake her up.
One thing I hated about living on Myrtle street was that the closest T stop was on Tremont. The winter was the worst – I had slipped and fallen on my ass several times. It never worked out in my favor.
When I got on the train, I headed towards Newbury Street. I hated that place – everything was way too expensive. The best place on that road was Ben & Jerry’s. I would pay for their over priced ice cream every single day.
I hopped off of the train and left the station, hands shoved in my pockets and my head up high. It was just instinct at this point.
Rounding the corner, I saw it. Trident. He would be in there. He always worked the Sunday morning shift at the counter. I only knew because he would come into school on Monday’s complaining about how tired he was.
That was a year ago, though. He could not work here anymore. Fuck.
I walked up to the door and opened it, greeted by a wall of staff recommended books. But my eye wasn’t drawn to any of them – it was drawn to the boy working at the cafe counter.
Evon DuPont. His hair was natural, a bright pink and white tie-dye bandanna wrapped around it. It was strange to see him without his denim jacket on – I hadn’t seen him in his work uniform before. Simple black print shirt and pants. He wore much more color usually.
There were only a handful of people at the counter. They must’ve just opened, because this place was always swapped. It was the off season though, most college students home for the summer.
Slowly, I sat down at the counter at the farthest end away from everyone else. I didn’t need them hearing my questions.
I distracted myself by scrolling through old text messages until I heard a mug clink down on the counter in front of me. When I looked up, there he was.
“Hey, my name is Evon. Anything I can get started for you?” He asked, much too chipper for 7 in the morning.
It then hit me that we hadn’t spoken since senior year Earth Science. He didn’t recognize me.
“Hey. I don’t know if you remember me, but we went to high school together.” It felt awkward reintroducing myself. “Hayden. Hayden Shelley.”
“Oh, no way!” His teeth shined in the yellow lighting when he smiled.
“Hey! I didn’t even recognize you. How are you doing?”
“I’m good, I’m good.” I couldn’t help but smile back. With his energy, there was no way you could be solemn.
“You got bangs, I like it.” Evon leaned his elbows on the counter. “How’s college been?”
“It’s been… great, Evon.” Lying to him about little things felt okay. “I was actually hoping you’d be here today. I wanted to ask you something.”
“What’s up? Oh, also, decaf or regular?”
“Regular.” I poured a small cup of cream into the mug when he was done. When I looked up again, he was talking with two of the other customers. I suppose I couldn’t be mad at him. This is his job, after all.
I stirred my coffee as if to pass the time. I glanced back up and he was replacing the coffee filter. He came back over after that.
“Do you want anything to eat? We have killer muffins, and we have avocado toast. I eat it way too often.” He chuckled and pulled out a note pad, taking his purple pen out from behind his ear and clicking it.
“A muffin sounds good. Surprise me. I just don’t like cranberries.” I leaned back again the back of the stool, gripping the counter as I watched him scribble it down.
“What did you want to ask me?”
I sighed, and after a moment asked him “Are you still into all that… stuff?”
Evon put his pen back behind his ear, asking “Stuff? You gotta be more specific.”
“You know… all that stuff… astrology, psychics, those things?”
Evon chuckled, walking over to the pastry cabinet and plopping a muffin down on top of a white dole. “I didn’t call myself the resident astrologist for nothing in high school.” He put the plate down in front of me and asked “You got a question about your compatibility with someone?”
“No, that’s not the part I’m interested in.” I took a bite of the muffin top.
“That’s such a Taurus thing to say, you know-”
“-What is this, poppyseed?” I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and coughed.
“You said to surprise you,” Evon said with a wink and a smirk. Then, he asked “What are you interested in knowing, then?”
I drank a shot of coffee, and then asked “What about dream interpretations?”
“Dreams? Oh, I love that shit.” He smiled and said “I got a handful of books and journals about it. I know a thing or two, if I say so myself.”
“I could… I could use your help.” I sighed and said “I really don’t want to talk about this here, though. I’d rather talk about it privately.”
Evon nodded and looked up at the clock hanging over the coffee station. “I get out of work at 2. Wanna maybe swing by my place and I can show you some of the stuff I got on the subject?”
I bit my cheek. Going to his house was not apart of the plan. I just wanted to talk quick – maybe next to the T station or in the comics section of the Newbury Comics. Not at his house.
“Yeah, that works.” I opened my phone and asked “What’s your number?”
He plucked it out of my hands and began typing. “I’ll text you my address. Wanna come by at like 3? I smell like coffee and stale doughnuts when I get out of work. I need to shower.”
I nodded a bit and took my phone back out of his hands. I looked at the screen and saw he had created his own contact and texted himself. At least it would be easier to talk to him then.
When he turned his back to attend to another customer, I pulled a 10 out of my pocket and put it next to the plate. I chugged down the rest of my coffee, burning my throat, and walked out of the store.
I hope he knows more than he seems to be letting on.