If you’ll humor me, I’d like to try an experiment. I’m writing a short story, and I’d like to present it in parts. A serial, if you please. I haven’t finished the story yet. Maybe you can help me. Send me your thoughts after you read the first part.
Isn’t it weird how the most intimate things happen in coffee shops? Not coffee shops like the ones in Quentin Tarantino movies, with red leather booths and homemade pies under glass domes. I mean fast-food coffee shops – Starbuck’s, Caribou, Peet’s, Coffee Beanery. Pick your poison.
So I’m sipping my grande-non-fat-no-whip-mocha at one of those espresso tables – you know the ones that have three chairs, but can only seat two people, and only if they have nothing but their coffees and car keys. So I’m sitting here, waiting, and I witnessed the most beautiful thing.
A forty-something mom – dark hair to her shoulders, dark-framed glasses, dirty shorts – brought her baby boy to visit his grandparents. Grandma must be at least eighty years old – short hair curled to her head, clear plastic glasses, and tan orthopedic shoes. Mom lowered the little guy into Grandma’s lap, and Grandma bounced him on her wobbly knees. He squirmed and grabbed for her glasses. The thing is, in that moment, nothing else in the world mattered to Grandma. She felt pure happiness, right there, in that brown leather chair, with the mountains of crumbs in the creases. Mom stood over them, not wanting to break the stream of happiness. Grandpa was there too, standing back a few feet. He kept rubbing his hands together. His daughter asked what they wanted to drink, and he said, “We’ll just take a couple of decafs,” and moved toward the brown leather chair beside his wife’s. I could tell he wanted to get his hands on that baby, but he was going to be polite about it. I could see how happy he was for his wife – I’ll bet she’s been sick or something.
This coffee shop is in a strip center. There’s an alterations place next door, and a tire shop around the corner. Across the parking lot, there’s a Verizon Wireless store. America, the beautiful.
To kill time, I’ve been thinking. What if I had my wedding here? I could have barista bridesmaids. They could wear their green aprons. No bitching about matching dresses. No pastels. No muted silver. Just aprons and khaki pants. The rest of the outfit would be up to them – I’m pretty chill about stuff like that.
I could have the reception here too. Coffee to drink, obvi. Open bar. The food would be easy – blueberry scones, petite vanilla scones, cinnamon scones, low-fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake, cake pops, protein boxes. Sky’s the limit. I’d just open the case, and let everyone help themselves. Invitations would be easy too. I’d ask Claire – the barista with the purple streak in her hair and the reindeer wrist tattoo – to draw something on the chalk board. She’s super talented. She can do ice-skaters, flowers, sandwiches – pretty much anything. So she could do the invitation. I’d give her artistic license to do whatever she wanted, as long as she got the date and time right.
Stay tuned for the next episode…