Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Eavesdropping at the Coffee Shop

I hit a milestone this week...all three of my kiddos are participating in Vacation Bible School.

Which means that from 9am-12pm, I am a free woman.

It's sort of revolutionary to experience particularly, in the summertime.

So, each morning, I've scheduled coffee with a friend and then, powered through a run basking in the amazing weather that we're experiencing in late July.

Pulling up to my new favorite cafe, I snagged an outdoor table and an extra half an hour before my friend arrived.  Grabbing my journal, pen and steaming Americano, I started to write.  Feeling a cool breeze and savoring the strong smell of my java, I heard, "I hate him. I really do."  And I looked up.

It was a drop-dead beautiful girl talking on the phone to someone who she was clearly confiding in.  Fuck, fuck, fuck.  I hate these situations.  I never want someone to feel like they're being listened to, but what am supposed to do...I'm not going inside...the weather is too stunning.  Okay, keep writing.

"What is he thinking?  Why does he always find a way to humiliate me?  I'm done...done."

Oh my God...this is getting good.  Who is he?  What did he do?  What has he been doing?  What was the last straw?  Does he know what a beautiful woman he has?  Why am I wrapped up in this?

"No, no, no.  I'm not talking to him.  We've said all there is to say.  He can fuck himself."

Oh shit...not good.  Not good at all.

"I know.  I'll talk to you later."

And that was it.  She walked in and clearly must have met someone because her 5-minute phone dialogue was over and I never saw her again.

Instantly, what I was previously scribbling about in my journal shifted and I started to write feverishly about her.  At first, I assumed the culprit was her shit-for-brains, non-committal, hot but worthless boyfriend and that she was tired of playing the fool.  And then, I thought it was her father that left her mother when she was young and was unreliable when it came to celebrating her successes like a photo exhibition that launched the evening before.  And then I thought it was her boss...the man who promised big career opportunities and after long nights and ridiculous numbers of hours never quite came through, always with an excuse.

On my bedside is Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft."  It's his homage to the writers/story tellers of the world who want to get their voices out but are afraid that without a Master of Fine Arts that they're dead in the water.  One of the first pieces of commentary is on the power of the imagination and the ability to take a basic human observation and catapult it into a living, breathing creature that someone cares about.

For me today, it was her.  The girl at the coffee shop.

After an hour or so, I went back in to use the restroom hoping that I would see who she met.  To no avail, she must have exited through the back door.

All around me there are stories dying to be told.  I just have to be willing to eavesdrop a little.

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