I can really see this place, this off-season clifftop eatery, can hear the lonely squawk of gulls and the crush-thump of incoming waves. The atmosphere of near-total stillness in the cafe is well-depicted. And you’ve got some great lines in here, particularly around the descriptions:
“a fall of autumn leaves across forehead, eye lids, nose, mouth; interrupted by puckered skin on her right cheek”
“impassive as a sphinx.”
Some of the lines I wasn’t quite sute how to process, though. Eg:
“the shingle under the pier salt stinking and clicking with water.” This is 2 senses being invoked side by side, but it doesn’t quite work for me. I wouldn’t necessarily think of shingle as something that smells so maybe stick to evoking the auditory, anmd invoke smell elsewhere.
“The sharp edge of the breeze tingles the scratch on his cheek tingling and drags water from his eyes as he leaves the shelter of the cafe.”
I tripped up on the tinglings here. I suspect one should have been deleted 🙂 Does he smile here? Is this why you included it? If so, I like it, because it subtly shows they have made a conncetion. If not, maybe he should?
I did initially think the pace was going to be a little too slow, with lots of descriptions of “things being” rather than “things doing”, and the focus being on very kitchen-sink stuff like washing up, but on finishing I thought it worked. Those slow turns of the cloth in the coffee mug do show character.
And I did enjoy the characters – a close-lipped pair, aren’t they? I like the way that you show their undemonstrative exterior, particularly hers, let in the tiniest bit of light when he attempts to guess her name. Anyway, hope this all helps. Ignore if it doesn’t work for you. Good luck 🙂