In response to the Daily Post: Nosey Delights
The smell of the coffee shop invites me in and welcomes me like a warm hug. I’m not really here for the coffee, though. I’m here because this shop is busy and I need to be around people. I need to feel normal. I need to feel like I’m in the land of the living, in body and in spirit.
Latte, frappuccino, espresso, iced espresso, macchiato…
The menu might as well be written in Greek. Maybe this was a bad idea.
Forget the coffee. I focus instead on my surroundings. The man in front of me is tall and dressed in a suit, carrying a briefcase. There’s a woman behind me in a beautiful sundress. She has on strappy sandals that I like. The woman behind her is dressed in workout gear, earbuds in place and scrolling through a playlist on her phone. Several tables are occupied by single individuals pecking away on laptops, papers scattered around them. Many different people but all the same in that they are focused on their own little world. Islands. Social but at the same time, not.
I turn my attention back to the menu. I don’t see him coming. A man passes by me, very closely. He almost bumps my shoulder. That isn’t what gets my attention. The smell of his cologne enters my space. It climbs inside my nose and goes straight to my brain. It sends waves through my body and paralyzes me where I stand.
Calvin Klein Eternity for men. I would know it anywhere. The smell of him.
A montage of memories flashes through my mind, the coffee shop temporarily forgotten. Sitting behind him in high school English class. Hanging out in his college apartment, cuddling on the couch. Walking hand in hand. The way he would tuck my hair behind my ear when he was staring into my eyes. In his car, his one hand on the wheel and the other holding mine. Our wedding, so handsome in his tuxedo. Laying in bed, my head on his chest. His arms wrapped around me, enveloping me in his warmth. His lips on mine. The reaction of my body to his touch. The night he left with his guitar for band practice, kissing me on his way out the door. The last night I saw him alive.
I take a deep breath. The sights and sounds of the coffee shop come back into focus. The stranger with the unfortunate choice of cologne has deposited his trash in the receptacle and walked out the door. Moved on. He will go about his day and never know that he has left me a shaky, emotional mess in the coffee line.
I look down at the floor and try to hide behind my long, mahogany hair. I surreptitiously wipe away a few stray tears.
Maybe we’re not islands after all.