Antonio’s Battle – Clare Kane
3800 words Historical / General Fiction
One day when having his usual coffee in a local cafe, a young woman reading a stack of papers catches his eye. When Antonio discovers what the girl is reading, he is forced out of his dull existence to confront a past he had tried to bury.
Antonio swirled his spoon in the foam of his coffee, carefully breaking up the leaf design Raul laboured over every day. He tapped the residue off on the side of the cup and paused before lifting it to his lips, waiting the obligatory ten seconds. This little café, where the paint on the damp walls curled and his foggy reflection looked back at him, bewildered through the dust, had been the same for the last fifteen years. After his first sip, he turned the first page of his newspaper and shuffled his old cap along the tabletop to mark the second stage of his daily ritual.