James avoided the counterboy’s glare (he was a dark and sultry island, James thought; with piles of compost, and barbed wire) and paid with exact change, for which he had picked through his change cup that morning in preparation, to avoid unnecessary complication. Having acquired his coffee he sat blankly at one of the sleek tables, hand curled around the Styrofoam cup with a slight unconscious tension. His loose gaze hovered somewhere in front of the picture window. His thoughts were occupied with an accustomed set of worries, but today there was something else taking shape behind their swarming: something pointed and waxy and orange.
Fate is always contact before sight. If you can gauge its approach, and see it coming at you, you retain some control over the situation. But fate is out of your hands, it annihilates, empties, slices you in half, re-does, fulfills, and empties you again, and all before you have a chance put a word in edgewise. Looking back it is as if that one event had so much sheer velocity collapsed into it that it has never yet stopped happening.