The last signs of winter had slowly begun to fade, yet the air was still cool and crisp as Kairos biked through groups of tourists and students towards Puffe, a small cafe that sold the best cappuccinos in downtown London. Puffe was a small shop; its interior was mostly comprised of oak and little antiques like old moose antlers and signed pictures of frequents.
A small fan whirred as she placed her order, and the man who waited at the register eyed her as she slid a few crinkled bills towards him.
“Ma’am.” He said gruffly, holding up the bills and shaking his hand.
Kai lifted her gaze towards the man, piercing eyes the color of nutmeg. The man looked old, perhaps in his seventies or eighties, and had wisps of white hair popping from his chin and around his bushy eyebrows. As he spoke, she noticed his abnormally yellowed teeth.
“Yes sir?” She took an earbud out from her ear, focusing her attention on the man.
“You forgot the change.” He stated, bluntly pointing towards the green number on the cash register. “There are five pence left.”
“Sir, would you excuse me this time? I’m afraid I don’t have change.”
“Well I suggest you go get some or you ain’t getting the coffee.” He grumbled, unfazed by her pleading.
A minute later, Kai was outside in front of the storefront wishing well, one that several students threw their coins into, hoping for the fulfillment of a wish. Kai had never been one to believe in superstition; the fountain was nothing but a waste of perfectly good money. She reached into the clear blue water, her reflection staring at her as she produced a silver coin with a few stubborn drops of water; a small red heart was drawn onto its back, and she rolled her eyes at it. Then she stuffed it into her pocket and shuffled back into the store, making her way past crowds of people and sliding the coin towards the man.
He picked it up with his drying, prune-looking fingers and examined it with a careful eye.
“I ain’t accepting this. Take your coffee, go now. I got no time to waste on suckers like you.” He muttered, pressing his mouth into a thin line.
Kai walked out with one hand stuffed in her pocket and the other gripping a large brown bag, muttering about the audacity of the man. The encounter left her slightly bogged down, but she was more than happy to go back to the pleasant square of the prep-school campus where everybody was equipped with proper manners.
As she pedaled through the streets lined with London shops and as she weaved through other students, the wind blew in her direction and the coin fell to the street in front of a major city hospital, creating a small noise in the midst of the bustle of the city. As she lifted the coin off the ground, her gaze met a table ten feet away from her holding a vase of roses and a glass bowl of papers.
Room 5502. The hospital smelled of antiseptics and antibacterial spray. Depression was something easily conceivable; everything was colored a bleak white, and as Kai made her way up the elevator, one nurse spoke about the death of the patient as another one held the back of a wheelchair in which an old woman appeared to be sleeping in. She stepped onward, towards a small room in the back corner of the hospital, passing a familiar face of a boy who wore the same jacket as she did.
The room was a small little room, but it had been decorated with multiple balloons and teddy bears that held ‘get well’ messages. On a hospital bed laid a woman with deep creases under her eyes and graying hair fanned out onto a white pillow, IV’s poked into her pale arms and hands. Her heart rate monitor beeped at a steady pace, but her eyes wouldn’t open no matter how much Kai coughed or paced.
Kai eyed the rose in her hand and the coin, dried lips curling upward into a brief and sympathetic smile before placing the coin with the heart side up and the rose on a stand beside her. Her eyes drifted to the heart.
“You should wake up soon ma’am…” Kai sighed. “It looks like someone is wishing for you to wake up.”
A few silent moments had passed, and Kai nearly had one leather boot out the door when the monitor started beeping faster and a wrinkled hand raised towards her.
Doctors and nurses flooded into the room, pushing Kai back into her spot at the little nook in the room where she had placed the rose and the coin. Kai’s eyes flickered to the teenage boy - who had just run into the room - with the same jacket at her; he leaned over and smiled at his mom, eyes splotchy and red as the doctors wheeled her bed out of the room and left the two students alone.
They glanced at one another and pointed at each other's coats, and the boy had made his way over before he noticed the small silver coin lying on the wooden table. Kai glanced at it and back towards the boy, and he looked up at her with green eyes filled with wonder and surprise.
“You must be some fairy, no?”
The two of them cracked up, bursting into laughter that reverberated in the hallways.
Need edits for a CW class! Let me know everything you hate about this haha