Hills Like White
The evening brought a cool, but subtle, wind to the café, one that was
not easily noticed until you had goosebumps. Moonlight filtered
through the clouds, but was enough to illuminate the night. Birds sat
on the roof of the church opposite, where bells rang hourly. The café
was on the corner of a main road, however, several people always
managed to stop by. Amother and her daughter sat at a table outside.
‘What should we have?’ the mother asked. She took off her
cardigan and let it hang against her chair.
‘It’s a cool night,’ the girl said. The church bell rang seven times.
‘Let’s have coffee.’ The mother beckoned for a waiter. ‘One strong
cappuccino, please, and a skinny latte.’
‘Would you like any of them with sugar?’
‘None for the cappuccino, and two for the latte.’ The mother
looked at her daughter. She nodded back, but was looking at the moon.
The man left, and soon came back with two mugs of coffee placed
on bone china saucers. He lay the two on the wooden table and slid
them to the mother and girl. The girl was still gazing at the moon. It
possessed a specific luminance that was only found in spring.
‘Nice night,’ the mother said.
‘Could’ve been nicer,’ the girl blew across the top of her latte.
‘At least it’s somewhat nice.’
‘You don’t know that. Just because you say it’s nice doesn’t mean it
is.’ The girl drank her coffee.
The mother frowned, then smiled. ‘Are you enjoying your latte?’
The girl took another sip in response.
‘Is it better than the last café?’
‘I don’t know,’ the girl said. ‘It just tastes like coffee. All coffees
taste the same.’
The mother had disregarded her cappuccino. She looked at the
café window. ‘It says they’ve got a world famous hot chocolate.’
The girl continued to drink her latte.
‘Apparently they’ve also got cakes and biscuits. Would you like to
‘Oh, stop it already.’
‘You’re the one who should stop. I’m trying to have a nice time,’
the mother said. ‘We’re together at a lovely café, we’ve ordered and
had coffees. Isn’t that nice?’
The girl shrugged. ‘Could’ve been nicer if we had ordered three.
You were meant to meet her tonight.’ As the church bell rang nine