Missed connections: Cafe

Let me tell you about my days: They’re not interesting. I don’t go out that much and when I do, it’s just to read a book in my favorite cafe. I don’t like coffee and I never will, but I like the warmth of being in a quiet place that brews coffee nonstop, with people who seem to have fooled themselves that a $5 coffee is any better than the cheaper kind. Sometimes, I watch people do the common things done in a cafe: read books, abuse the free internet, hold hands, talk on the phone, cry in front of friends, cry in front of significant others, get lost in their thoughts, leave coffee stains, wait, hope.

I never get particularly interested in anyone because no one is usually interesting enough for me.

Well. Until it happened.

A boy, or a man but he looks so much more like a boy to me, walked in. He bought the smallest and cheapest coffee in the house, settled in a corner table and started reading. What interested me at first was the book he was reading because I had read it before and loved it immensely. The second was how he left the cafe without even taking a single sip of his coffee. Third was how I sort of whispered to myself, because I am weird like that, that maybe he was meant for me. Finally, after years of patronizing this cafe with shitty coffee (I’ve taken a sip or two), the higher power had taken pity on me and had decided to give me some sort of loyalty award.

But no. That’s not what he meant to me. Not a reward, not a consolation. More like a discovery. A gift.

Why do I feel like I’ve found something irreplaceable? Something real?

It pained me as well as surprised me that I was capable of such infallible hallucinations. I didn’t know I still had it in me after so many disappointments and broken promises. I’m kind of an old-timer, but I’ve stayed strong. Look at me now. You won’t even notice the thousand scars of my heart.

These thoughts drifted me away from my book completely. I was so engrossed with my imaginary love story that it made me realize how much time I’ve wasted on involving myself in other people’s lives, stories, and heartaches. All the people I’ve watched, all the characters in the books I’ve read — they live the life I once wished for myself. And maybe it’s not too late.

But I was. I let him slip away. He never visited the cafe again. It must have been the coffee, or maybe he was just visiting. I will never find out.

--- I keep a literature blog wherein I post short stories (and also, sometimes, poetry). Visit the site if you are so inclined.