Cafe' Encounters-Part 2
The next morning, as I approached the café, I could not help but wonder if the mystery lady would be there. Somehow I just couldn’t get her out of my mind. All day she would invade my thoughts. Even in my dreams last night she seemed to hover in the background not being invasive but her olive-grey eyes seemed to long for recognition but at the same time scared I would give it. Waiting at the intersection for the walk light, I turned up my collar against the drifting snow. Would she come, I wondered again, and for the hundredth time reminded myself that yesterday had just been chance. Rolling my eyes I kicked myself for not getting her name. Ah…I was never a quick socializer.
Reaching out I grabbed the door handle of the café and pulled. The pungent aroma of brewing coffee instantly assailed my senses. Taking a deep breath I knew that the nippy 15 minute walk was worth it. The warmth and quiet conversation drew me in and stamping the snow from my feet I looked about, reasoning that I was looking for a comfy chair, although I had sat in the same armchair every morning for well over six months now. Being an early morning coffee drinker, I was assured that no early morning regular would even think of sitting in my chair any more than I would in theirs. It was an unspoken courtesy we extended to each other. I had to admit what I was really looking for. With a keen disappointment at her absence I realized just how much I had wanted her to be there. Why, I wasn’t sure I knew, just yet.
Nodding at the few who were already there, I noticed that Sam wasn’t there. Sam Beaker was an elderly gentleman with shoulder length white hair, that fairly exuded southern charm. I frowned, Sam would be there regular as clock work from opening until 10 o’clock am when the coffee breakers started. Glancing about I thought he might have actually broke with tradition but he wasn’t there. Sam’s corner was clean and unused, sending unexpected shivers down my spine.
On the way to the counter I perused the goodies in the glass case the café. Danishes, cinnamon rolls, with or without icing, brownies, cookies of all varieties, cakes and squares. They had the usual berry and lemony muffins, and of course some double chocolate muffins. However, I was looking for their signature muffin, pineapple and carrot. On a cold morning like this I felt deserving of a treat. Normally, I would eat breakfast at home, but this morning having an early morning Bible Study I didn’t want to miss my morning coffee.
Jill, with her ever inviting smile, looked over from the cappuccino machine as she motioned that she’d be right with me. I looked up at the menu board and realized I’d never tried any of their trendy coffees. I had the same thing every morning, varied only if I had a treat or not. As I was trying to puzzle out whether that made me boring, predictable or reliable, Jill approached,
“Good morning! Cold out isn’t it?”
“It is, and about half way here I wished I had wore a toque or something.”
“Oh but then you would have had hat hair.” She said giving her own mane a toss, indicating that she would never allowed weather to keep her from looking her best.
“Better that than frostbit ears ” I said, a little too defensively but nevertheless grinning at her.
“Good point.” Giving me a thumbs up and smiling. “Did you want anything with your Espresso this morning…a cinnamon bun maybe?”
“Hm-m as tempting as that sounds I think I’ll have one of your fresh carrot muffins, if there are any. I didn’t see one.”
“Oh…you’re in luck…they just came out of the oven a few minutes ago.”
“Great, no butter okay.” And with a roll of her eyes, Jill moved to the cooling case,
“Say, did you hear about Mr. Beaker?”
“Sam Beaker…no, what happened?” sensing bad news.
“Broke his leg.”
“What, I was wondering where he was; what happened?” Shaking her head as she put my muffin on a little china plate.
“He was on his way home yesterday and slipped on the sidewalk.”
“Really? Is he at home or in the hospital?”
“He’s at home now…spent most the day and night at the hospital though.” Handing Jill my coffee card, it was my turn to shake my head.
“I’m surprised that at his age he still walks all the way here, you’d think he would drive or something.” I said, the jingling of the door announcing the entrance of yet another early morning customer.
“Oh not him…he’s from the old school, has to get his morning constitutional…to keep him regular don’t ya know” she said with a twinkle in her eye, “you just wait and see if in a couple of days he doesn’t try to hobble down here on his crutches.”
“Well, Jill, they sure don’t make them like him anymore. Thanks for letting me know and for the coffee too.” Lifting my mug in salute, then just as I turned to go, she laid a hand on my arm,
“Ah…are you going to ah…like you know…pray for him?” She whispered anxiously. Smiling, I patted her hand,
“I will…I promise.” With that she seemed satisfied. Her smile back again, she turned her attention to her next customer.
Carefully I made my way over to the armchair and set my coffee and muffin on the end table. Slipping my arms from my overcoat I laid it on the other chair beside me. Taking my journal from my brief case I settled into the chair. Sighing, I closed my eyes for a moment to settle my thoughts. Lifting a quick prayer right there and then for Sam, I let my thoughts linger for a moment on how I might be able to help. Poor guy, I’ll have to try and find out where he lives. He’ll probably need a little company after a few days. Maybe I could bring him a coffee, feeling pretty sure Jill would know what his favorite was. Just then I felt a little nudge on my arm, and opening my eyes I looked right into the olive-grey eyes of my dreams last night.