I was frustrated after my trip to the Wylds. Not seeing Nathaniel or Aoibheann and getting only a worry-inducing vision and a lecture from Nualla for my troubles soured me even when I woke up sometime after dark. I didn’t want to stay in the flat, I don’t know anybody really in Cranberry Cove, so the only thing that came to mind was a trip to the coffee shop, where at least I’d have a clean, well-lighted place in which to pretend there was no dark. Nualla insisted on coming with me: she was still angry that I hadn’t told her what I was doing before I left the Wylds, and I guess she wanted to keep tabs on me or something.
I’d barely made my order when the invitation came: a woman sitting with a friend noticed I was alone and invited me to join her and her friend.
So, being new in town I went over to have coffee and a scone with jam (and a little dish of milk for Nualla) with two strangers. Because it’s not the Wylds, and the strangers probably weren’t capable of visiting me in my dreams and transporting me to their evil lairs– or at least I hope they weren’t.
The inviter, who turned out to be called Sera, had something to offer in that she works for the uni and is also a postgrad.
The friend, who turned out to be someone else Sera had just met (maybe she does this a lot, just randomly invites people to sit at her table), had something to offer in that she was explaining, slowly and via a text tablet, how to stir mint into drinking chocolate via some sort of sucking sweet.
Two things made me a bit uncomfortable: First, Sera doesn’t appear to like cats. (!?) Second, Sera kept engaging me about my doctoral research. I mean, I don’t mind talking modern poetry; I can do it for hours; but she seemed far more interested than I would have expected somebody studying physics to be. Perhaps I’m being shallow. Still, I felt like we were excluding the third girl from the conversation. The girl never did give her name: she said the text tablet tended to maim it, so we were left with a nameless girl with an ingenious method for applying mint to chocolate. She (chocolate girl) also got an emergency text and had to run.
Sera surprised (nay, shocked!) me by inviting me to take the conversation elsewhere, as the coffee shop would be closing soon. I declined, citing a host of things to do the next morning. She said she’d meet me at the uni and talk me through registration if I liked; I agreed; we exchanged phone numbers, and that was it.
I went back home and continued my interrupted sleep. Nualla wasn’t there when I woke up in the morning, and she didn’t leave a note, ungrateful cait. Sera was, though, by way of my phone (maybe I shouldn’t have given her my number?!), making sure I knew she was available to help me with reg. So I pulled on some clothes (I looked like hell) and met her outside the uni admin offices, where she talked me through filing my paperwork with a very competent admin who probably would have been fine on her own. Then, she invited me back to her place for breakfast. I didn’t accept the invite; said I had a lot to do (which mostly was go back to sleep, but I didn’t tell her that). I can’t remember: is it weird for a woman to invite you back to her place for breakfast on two hours’ worth of conversation? I think it might be. Will tread more lightly in future with Sera.