By Komlan A Aloysh
I had just paid for a cup of coffee and walked to the seat at the far end of the Café Guru. There were three people in line with items in their hands, waiting to be checked out. There was a young lady, perhaps in her early 20s and a college student, I assumed. Her head was buried in her pink iPhone, and she kept smiling occasionally as she stared at the phone. I assumed she was reading text messages, not Facebook newsfeeds that made her smile so beautifully.
“Next” the cashier called.
She startled, lifted her head and walked to the counter. She put the bottle of Capricana Orange juice on the counter. She reached into her left front pocket and pulled out money. I could not see it. Maybe a $10 bill.
“Excuse me! Is it okay to sit in here?” She asked.
“Yeah” the cashier answered.
“Okay. Thanks!” She said, with a perfunctory smile.
She walked toward me, and quickly I pretended to be looking in the coffee cup before me. She grabbed the seat at my table.
“Hi” she said.
“Hey!” I replied. And I said nothing else.
For over 15 minutes, silence engulfed the table, as I thought about what to say to her. I hadn’t seen her around here before, so I found it strange and uncomfortable to start a conversation. (Well, I am sure any introvert can relate to that). I assumed she too was an introvert. She kept shifting in her seat. I could tell that she wanted to talk as well, but didn’t know where to begin.
We sat there. I kept looking in my coffee cup and occasionally sipping, as she sat there looking on her phone and stealing a few glances at me.
“Mmm! Mmm!” I cleared my throat.
I suspected that she was aware that I wanted to talk to her.
“Are you from around here?” I said, with a shaky voice. It just can out of my mouth. I was thinking about how to start a conversation but that wasn’t the first words that I thought about.
“Yes, I go to Brown” she said, with a smile full of relief.
“Nice! What do you study?” I asked.
“I’m a second year Med student” she said, as she looked on her phone. Pretending to look on her phone.
“Oh okay. That’s nice!” I said, and nothing else came after those words.
About five minutes passed and she said, “what about you? What do you do?” Now her attention was paid to me and she put her phone away.
“Well, I am graduate student in public policy at Boston University. And I said to myself that I also want to be a writer” I said, without looking in her eyes. I could tell that she was looking at me, absorbing every word. I assumed she could tell that I was become a bit relax.
“Have you written anything yet?” She asked.
I was not expecting such a straightforward question, so I really didn’t know how to answer.
I looked in my coffee for a few minutes. I suspect she could tell that I wasn’t still comfortable. But she wanted to talk and was patient.
“Yeah, I have but nothing really serious” I said.
“Why not? You seem like a smart guy. You need to write something seriously,” she said, as she smiled beautifully. “Are you always here?” She asked.
“Yeah, I live two blocks from here” I said.
“Okay. Good! Write me something tomorrow! I will be here. Something about me” she said.
I didn’t know what to say about that. And immediately, I started thinking about what I’d write about and how I would start the story.
“Okay” I agreed to her request without thinking about it.
“I’m going to go now. I have to catch this bus coming in two minutes. Nice to meet you! See you tomorrow! I’m Ashley, by the way” she said.
“Okay. I am Zapa” I said.
She left, as she looked back and smiled.
I felt quite relieved and gentle. A strange feeling came over me that felt liberating. It felt satisfying.
I continued to sip on my coffee while starring out the window, looking at people and cars as they went by. Beautiful morning became even more beautiful. Time smiled at least for the right reason.
I took the last sip and got up and walked out the door, feeling satisfied. And there began a sweet morning.