“What would you like today?”
“My usual, Triple Swiss Mocha with chocolate bourbon whipped cream.”
“Ok, it will be right up!”
“Well, don’t I have to pay?”
“Oh, the gentleman in front of you already paid for your order.”
“Oh!” I said as I felt my cheeks turn red.
I wanted to turn and search for this charming man’s face, but wanted to play demure and aloof. “Well, in that case, here, take this and pay for the next person and this for any homeless person that may come in in need of coffee,” I said as I handed him a five dollar bill and fifteen dollars.
“No, thank you.”
I walked over to the end of the coffee bar and fetched my cup of ice water from the large antiqued glass chamber. I pretended to not be interested in who bought my coffee, but the curiosity was killing me. I was that lonely in my life that I needed to know that someone thought enough of me to be so generous; you know, that loneliness that gnaws at you making you search the faces at traffic lights just to see if someone acknowledges you exist. Granted it did not mean that he was in the least bit interested in me, or that I was even a thought in his mind… it was more likely just a random act of kindness. I was hoping though that it was the beginning of a spark; a connection with another human being.
“Triple Swiss Mocha, up!”
I grabbed my cup and then scanned the room for a place to sit, or even see who my knight was. I could not decipher which face was his, but spied a seat at the long desk in the upper deck. I maneuvered myself between the crowd of tables and chairs to the steps and up, then squeezed back to the corner chair that sat next to the lounge chair and couch. As I laid out my things in my particular order, a man took a seat in the lounge chair just catty corner to me. I felt him lean into me and wanted to turn to look, but my usual boldness gave way to shyness.
“Excuse me, can you hand me that paper there?”
“Uh, sure…here you go,” I said as I turned to meet his eyes handing him the paper.
I nearly fell out! He was the epitome of a fierce Celtic warrior wrapped up in Avondale Irish boy attire–the gray tweed flat cap, khaki dickies, white oxford with sleeves fold rolled revealing his tattooed forearms and that beard… that lovely beard the color of flame. He smiled. I smiled and shifted my eyes downward to hopefully stave off the flush crossing my face.
“I see you are working. I will leave you to it.”
“Uh, oh it is nothing, just doing some websites for friends. I am in between jobs,” wishing I had not said that. How I hate how pathetic I look to other people. What I wanted to say was, I am a mogul, a shaker…influencer. I am creative, daring, funny, charming… I am worthy of love. Perhaps that would have been too much too. That is always my problem, I give away too much information, too much laughter, too much caring, too much loving and end up drained and empty.
“Well, that sounds interesting… I am a builder. Rough hands to show for it,” he said as he spread his palms up to me.
“Nice, my dad was a builder. He was in construction and built his own home and a cabin.”
“Oh, I bet it is beautiful!”
“It is! It is in the Gorge. The best place on earth.”
“Man, I love the Gorge! I go hiking up there with my buddies. So, are you from there?”
“Not really, that is where my family is from. My dad took us out of there to the city so that we could have a better education.”
“Oh. Well. I suppose he did what he thought was best. But…don’t you think that being there, and with the help of some books, you would have gotten a pretty fine education?”
“Yea, I guess so. My dad though preferred the status of proper education.”
“I see. Well, your dad may be a builder like me, but I ain’t much on status symbols.”
“Yea, well it was nice talking to you,” he said as he got to his feet. He was tall looking down on me and it was then I realized that he did not believe me about not being much about status symbols. I really am not, but how would he know.
“You too. Bye.”