9 are the number of times I noticed you sitting on the other side of the coffee shop, backpack tucked under your chair and your eyes concealed by the luminous frames that rested on your nose, lenses reflecting the glare of your laptop.
8 is where the hour hand was always resting when you would get up to leave, gathering your backpack and abandoning your morning coffee to be collected once you were gone.
7 is the white and black card that would wink at me when the waiter came to take your table number each day, the plastic square catching the light from the window as it was lifted away.
6 are the agonising instances that stole the air from my lungs and pulled my stomach to the back of my throat, wherein I contemplated getting up to say hello.
5 are the mornings, quiet and damp, when clouds drew a grey curtain across the sky and rain pounded the cars and the crowds that bustled on the street outside.
4 are the days when you walked in with your shirt clinging to your skin, and your hair flattened by the water that pressed to your head. Four, because one of the mornings it rained your table was occupied by someone in your stead.
3 are the hours that passed before I saw your face on the news and felt my heart clench with worry at the next image that spread itself across the screen. That was also the day that I learned your name Adam, but I had hoped to hear it some other way than from the lips of the reporter standing in front of the wreck that stood where your car had been.
2 are the months you weren't there, wherein my hope eventually began dwindle and I thought that you might never return to your empty chair.
1 is the mug that slipped from my grasp to land with a crack on the floor when, at long last, you walked through the door, arm in a sling and a painful looking scar on your left cheek.
(1 is also the first time my gaze landed on you, only to find your widened eyes, staring right back at me.)
0 are the times after that, that I ever stared longingly at you because when ever I came back to that coffee shop, no longer did I sit on the other side of the room.