She spotted him again this morning. Every morning for the past two weeks she has seen him come in and order his coffee. One cream, no sugar. Just like she drank hers. She was new to town and found this quaint little coffee shop a block from her new house. So every morning she took a leisurely stroll to stop in and have her first cup. She sat at the big picture window to watch the town come to life slowly, enjoying the friendliness of the owner of the shop as she stopped and said good morning.
She had moved from the big city a year after her divorce. That was 6 months ago. She did free-lance writing work for the local newspaper and for a few top magazines. She might not have been able to save her 5 year marriage, but she was able to save her sanity by moving here. A small friendly town. Lots of nice helpful people. Strangers, all of them. It was sad that she felt more at home now with these strangers then with the “friends” she had left behind in the big city.
She had gotten tired of the awkward conversations. The pitying looks. The fake “I’m so sorry things didn’t work out” from people she knew weren’t sorry at all. When you divorced a rich, high-powered lawyer, who turned out to be a rich, high-powered scum bag, things got a bit messy. And ugly. So she left. Good-by scum bag, good-by fake friends, good-by ugly.
She smiled and took another sip from her rapidly cooling cup of coffee. Debating whether to have another cup to indulge herself, or head back towards home she noticed the man come into the shop. For two weeks she watched the same handsome man do exactly the same thing. He would walk in, glance around briefly, and walk to the counter to order his cup of coffee. One cream, no sugar. Then he would sit at a table next to the wall, open his morning paper and read it while sipping his cup of joe. After exactly half an hour, no more, no less, he would fold up his paper. Reach in his pocket for change that he left near the empty cup, smile at the owner and leave.
It was fascinating to her that he did this every morning, without fail. Never once changing his actions. Obviously a man of habit. A very good-looking man of habit. She gave a small self-deprecating laugh. She shouldn’t be noticing handsome strangers. For all she knew he could be married with five kids. Or be another scum bag. And one in her life time was enough! Feeling satisfied she left, waving good-bye to the owner.
The next morning came in a blustery, dreary, looking like rain, fall light. She debated going for her usual walk to get her cup of coffee. She had a brand new coffee pot at home she could use. It was sitting on her kitchen counter just waiting to be filled full of fresh hot brew. Instead she found herself locking up her house as she set off towards the coffee shop. She smiled as she walked briskly down the sidewalk. The fall wind at her back, pushing her on wards. The dry crackling leaves swirling around her feet.
As she came closer to the quaint coffee shop she noticed a tall handsome figure just walking through the door ahead of her. He was early today, she thought to herself. For some reason she felt a flicker of anxiety. In the two or more weeks when she had first noticed him he never deviated from his routine. Always the same time he arrived, always the same time he left. She wondered if something was wrong.
She opened up the door and was greeted with the smell of freshly ground coffee. The shop was gratefully warm and cosy. She saw the handsome man standing at the counter. As she approached to give her usual order she spotted the owner on the phone. The woman gave a small friendly wave and mouthed, “be right there”. She waited, almost made nervous by the man next to her. Then she heard a deep soft voice state, “I notice you’re here every morning”. She nodded, looking up into hazel eyes darkly fringed. The eyes were warm and curious.
“So are you” she stated. Looking at a wide-set face with a slight dusting of freckles. The face went well with the reddish/brown hair falling over his forehead.
“I enjoy the walk before work. And I enjoy good coffee. So I get both every morning” he laughed.
The laugh was infectious. She found herself drawn to the man. She felt the beginnings of interest flicker in her mind as he introduced himself as the local hardware store owner. He engulfed her hand in a warm handshake that lingered just a bit, as she told him she had moved to town six months ago and was a free-lance writer. She liked how he looked. Friendly, interesting, open, just like the small town she has come to love.
Slowly they both faced the woman behind the counter as she stood waiting for them to order. The man then said in his deep soft voice, “Two coffee’s please. One cream, no sugar”.