Chapter 4

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Every flower must grow through dirt.” - Anonymous

I stared blankly at the brown wall before me, eyes tracing over the curve of the metal coffee steam artwork that was nailed to the wall. My brain had no thoughts to worry about as I waited for Sophie to have a spare moment to chat with me. She was currently buzzing around from round table to round table, a few customers were giving her some flack and being impatient. They were aggravating me, Sophie was an excellent waitress, it wasn't her fault the other employee was late for their shift.

I was growing more impatient myself, more with my lack of creativity than Sophie.

As my eyes continued to stare blankly at the wall, my fingers grazed my keyboard, the small indentation of the keys tickling my fingertips as I waited for an epiphany. I checked my email a million times for any news from Madge, and by news I mean an explanation. If anyone was going to give me confidence in my new editor, it was going to be her. I thought that for sure, she would meet Mr. Hayes before she left that building for good. I hoped she would tell me not to worry, but I was really just wishing on a shooting star I'd made up.

My entire future suddenly seemed bleak. Without the help of someone, I'd never be able to write my sixth novel. I would just be a burnout, the equivalent of a teenie-bopper pop star. And that idea scared the shiitake mushrooms out of me.

“I'm sorry, I think it's cooled down, now.” Sophie's chime broke me from my worries. She sat across from me in my familiar table. At a glance around the shop, I saw that only regulars with newspapers or computers of their own were left. When I brought my gaze back to Sophie, I brightened up a little bit seeing her glowing smile and dimpled cheeks. Her short black hair was messy from her exertion, but was the right kind of messy. Her green eyes like apples were bright and alive, they transferred some life into me like a Duracell. I tried to return her smile, ending up with an awkward half-smirk.

“What did you want to talk about? You seem like you need to talk about something.” Sophie said again, her voice like a fairy sprinkling sugar dust everywhere. Just another thing I liked about her was her intuitiveness, she had a thing with people.

“Madge is retiring, my editor,” I clarified, not quite sure if she remembered who Madge was. “I'm just worried the replacement won't be as good. Madge was everything I could ask for and more.”

She nodded empathetically as she listened as I drawled on about all that Madge meant to me. Sophie was such a good listener, she was like my free therapist. Or, at the very least, a vent for my emotions. I know our relationship seemed to be one-sided most of the time, but Sophie never wanted to talk about herself. I would ask her questions and she would answer them, never going further into her life other than scratching the surface. Something in me pulled when I realized that I had time for Sophie, I wasn't rushing to get another chapter written that night or do research on ocean currents. I actually had time for a social life, and I wanted her to be more than just my vent, I wanted her to be my friend.

I stopped going on about my life, paused, and watched as Sophie gave me a curious look before I asked “You never did tell me what you went to music school for.” Such a detail seemed to simple, I ought to have known it. And was ashamed when I realized I didn't.

“Piano.” she replied simply. I smiled to myself. We were both in love with keys, we just produced different art.

“I've always liked piano music, I could never play, myself. I can't even remember where the middle C is.” I admitted. Our topic of discussion sparked a new life into Sophie, she brightened at the chance of telling me about something she loved. No doubt she still did, I could see it her eyes.

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