The coffee shop


Back home, I feel changed, and charged in a way I don’t yet understand. The angel from the Reno airport won’t leave me alone. She haunts me in the lull between getting the kids ready for school and sitting down at my desk at work. She is there in the moments after I’ve ended a phone call, and in the seconds between closing the car door and turning the key in the ignition. She seems determined to make sure I don’t forget the despair I felt in the airport. I argue that it’s nostalgia, but she lingers.

Jake senses a change, but he can’t name it any more than I can. He kisses me, and I try not to step back but I do. I know it hurts him, and I regret it, but something deep inside has clicked off. I want to be unrehearsed and honest. No more pretending. It’s a significant shift, and I know it’s going to have repercussions. But a light has come on in another part of me, an ignored, overlooked, packed away part I had forgotten. A part just as familiar as Drew once was.

It isn’t until I walk into a coffee shop one morning, that I realize she wants something from me. It’s not that I’m religious, new age, or even superstitious (or crazy, you might be thinking). But that day, I get in line as usual, and as I scan the restaurant, I suddenly expect to see him. I can visualize Drew in a chair, a cup on the table beside him, a paper or book in his lap. I feel him so completely my cheeks flush, and I look over my shoulder twice to make sure he really isn’t there. My disappointment is tangible and telling, and I know this isn’t going to go away until I do something, take some action. I also know in that moment that it isn’t just nostalgia.

I reach out that day, opening a channel between us, convinced that something this strong has to be bigger than me. I tell him about imagining him in the coffee shop, and how nice it would have been to run into him there. How nice it would be to sit and talk for as long as we want, uninterrupted, until we both feel satisfied.

He replies immediately, and I feel the weight of the angel dissipate.

Ironically, he doesn’t drink coffee.

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