A cup of coffee

 She is joining him for a cup of coffee in his own coffee shop in this city that is strange to her. As an artist, she regularly visits new cities. They continue the conversation they started earlier that day when he met her at the art exhibition. He steps away from behind the counter, takes off his apron and replaces the cloth he uses to polish the coffee machine. They decide to sit down in a corner. She sits on the bench facing the street, he on a wooden chair with his back towards the coffee counter. Behind them there is a stylish display about a fancy coffee machine; all smooth stainless steel, capable of brewing the perfect morning coffee. He is talking passionately about his work. At times, he swings around and uses his long arms to link his words to the different corners of his coffee shop. In his eyes, she sees clear enjoyment to serve people the coffee they need. It is left unsaid, yet by both understood, that the coffee a customer needs is not necessarily what the customer wants. This recognition, combined with his passion and drive to make a difference, allows him to offer something special in his ‘coffee shop around the corner’. She is listening, her body radiating interest and love – gratefulness to be there. At a later stage, she takes her turn; sharing her fulfilment about expressing her creativity through her artwork.

His two baristas behind the bar stick together in serving his customers that are trickling in at a comfortable pace. They are all eyes and ears for the customers. Yet in the meantime they wonder, and, when time allows, they talk softly.
“Never seen him like this.”
“Me neither, what do you reckon?”
“Not sure. Lucky it is not busy. What about you?”
“Do they know each other?”
“Not sure, can’t tell. Do you feel that vibe?”
“Yeah, I noticed it too. It makes the whole room seem at peace. Something is different today.”
“Sure is. Feels like a different world.”

After some contemplation. “He is married, isn’t he?”
“Would he tell his wife?”
Some more silence.
“Would you?”

Hours quickly pass. They stand up, graceful movements, a hesitant embrace. She confirms the time, tomorrow 4.30, and reassures she will rely on a taxi driver to find the address. He replies, “It will be well before I start work here and before you are meeting your husband coming to town.” When she is walking out of the coffee shop, she is radiating a love that is more pronounced than the colours of her clothes. Her long hair is tied in a simple ponytail. From behind the counter, he observes her getting in a taxi: clumsily, crutches beside her, to support a crippled leg from a childhood accident. The rest of the evening in her hotel room, she attends to her usual tasks, with a regained intensity and flair. He feels magically touched and spends the quiet hours aimlessly browsing the magazines in the coffee shop. They are full of advertisement, beautiful ladies in black H&M clothes, some featuring his lovely wife.

He is tired of waiting. It is 4.30. He decides to leave the apartment and go to the lobby. Walking down the grand stairs, he can oversee the large hall of the Victorian apartment building with its fancy glass façade and a large section of the broad pavement. Out of the taxi she climbs using her crutches for support, more gracefully than yesterday. She is approaching the revolving doors. At the same time, he also notices his daughter, absent-mindedly dancing on the sidewalk toward the same doors. His wife a few steps behind their daughter; a strong elegant pace, long coat, and raven black hair. Realising the mess he might unnecessarily create, he swiftly retreats to the apartment to find his living-in father. Silently, he once again blesses the arrangement that allows his father to provide childcare during their irregular working hours. He asks his dad to go down in his place.

Down in the hall, his dad joyfully accepts the hug from his playful granddaughter. With the tiny arms still slung around him, he nods understandingly when his daughter-in-law excuses herself to go back to work. He then turns and warmly greets the guest his son had already talked about last night. He recognises the almost divine radiance and finds it easy to bathe himself in her warmth. He supports her by her arm up the stairs, meanwhile explaining his role, living in with his son and his family.

In the apartment, they tenderly embrace. His father is a silent spectator of a beautiful display, observing a natural love flowing. He then silently excuses himself accepting what is; such the wisdom of the elderly. While she is taking in the surroundings, he continues where yesterday was left. The girl is happily dancing through the rooms and around them. Communication is occurring at many levels. Words are irrelevant compared to the love that touches and brightens up the room, filling it with energy. Minutes pass, an hour soon gone. All three enjoy what is: talking intertwined with periods of silence, at times joining the girl in one of her games.

Both know that this situation, like any in life, is never to return. They are grateful for the experience, feeling awakened, touched by a love greater than life. It is different than the love they know – the conditional love that exists between people. This love flows from deep within, unconditional, comprising all that is, allowing seeing and accepting what is, beyond the mystery of life. The experience, short and intense, is like a ripple in a pond. They will strive to be open and welcome it again, to uncover it in their current lives and loves, adding truth to what is.