A Letter To The Girl At The Acai Cafe

I had some time before an appointment, and needed a place to sit and read. The glass door had a little bell attached to it, and it tinkled as I pushed the door open.

The café was packed. It was in the middle of a weekday afternoon, but there were food delivery guys in their various green and pink shirts sitting on a bench watching you and your colleague in action. Couples were seated at the tables further away, sharing acai and conversation.

Alerted by the bell, you and your colleague chirped, “Welcome!” when I entered, your eyes not leaving the fruit you were chopping, or the frozen acai you were scooping. I gave you my order and told you to take your time as I was not in a rush. You looked up for a bit and said, “Oh, thank you,” before going back to your chopping and scooping.

The conversation

But quite suddenly all the orders were done, the delivery guys got their packages, the couples finished their acai and conversation, and I was the only customer left.

You turned to your colleague and told her something she should not have done with one of the orders. She tried to keep her volume down but I could hear her retort that it was no big deal, and that she wished you didn’t always make such a fuss about it. You were evidently unhappy. You stormed to the fridge and took out a lunchbox, and brought it to a table in the corner. It was your packed lunch. It looked healthy. Your colleague took out something from the fridge too. Boxed yoghurt. She went to the table at the other corner.

You were both having your lunch when your phone beeped. You looked at it and you let out an expletive. Your colleague ended the silent siege and asked if you were okay.

“He sent me the profile of the girl he is going to meet tonight,” you said. “The guy you’re seeing? Why would he do that!?” your colleague asked, her tone indignant.

“Because I said it was okay,” you replied.

“And why the (expletive) would you say you were okay with that?” she asked, almost incredulously.

And when I heard your reply, worded so placidly, my heart broke.

You said, “Because I wanted him to choose me.”

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All hearts break the same

You were suddenly more than a person who made me a pretty acai bowl.

I realised our stories may be different, but all hearts break the same. They break when you don’t get chosen, they break when you don’t choose yourself.

It was time for my appointment. As I got up to go, both of you trilled out from behind me, “Thank you for coming,” in a tone that was quite different from the one you were using to discuss the girl in the screenshot.

“Thank you,” I said. But at the door I stopped. I turned around and saw the two of you still scrutinising the screenshot of the girl’s profile. You both looked up at the same time, wondering why I was still standing at the door, perhaps. The bell tinkled in the bit of silence that passed.

“Choose yourself first,” I said, and then I left.

Always Choose Yourself First

There was more that I wanted to say, like how it was not the other girl’s fault so it would not make you feel better to keep picking at her looks. Or how no good man would make you feel you’re only an option. But I did not feel I had the right to do so. And perhaps they weren’t as important. But dear girl at the acai cafe, I hope you heard what I said before I left.

Please don’t wait to be chosen. Choose you. Choose yourself. All the time.

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Dear Girl Beside Me At The Cafe, Don’t Let Your Boyfriend Treat You This Way

Cover: Charisse Kenion/Unsplash