Yesterday I saw her again at the coffee shop. She sat alone. Her notebook on the table and a novel in hand. She sat there waiting for her coffee as I later came to realize. She was lost in her reading that she didn’t see her coffee being served by the waitress.
I sat adjacent to her table and ordered my coffee. As I waited, I looked across at her and realized that she had stopped reading and had closed her book and was now on her notebook as she sipped her coffee. I looked at how she concentrated on her writing – her passion, her energy. It was like everything she knew depended on it. She later took a break and was now studying the room. Our eyes met. For a split second, none of us really said anything or moved, just staring at each other and then I smiled at her – she smiled back.
I then stood and walked over to her table.
“Hi. Is this seat taken?” I asked.
“Hey. Someone is if you don’t!” How rude – I thought.
I sat down. I asked her what book she was reading. She didn’t reply.
It just happened the waitress came looking for me on my table, but couldn’t find me. I waved at her and she came over and served my coffee.
All this time, she hadn’t said a word or looked at me since I sat down. So I figured she was ignoring me. How rude of her. She was concentrated on her notebook – still writing.
“Work assignment?” I asked.
“Ummm. What?” She answered as she now looked up.
“Your notebook. You’ve been writing for a while now.” I said.
“No. It’s a work report. I have a deadline for submission – tomorrow morning. That’s why I’m all sunk in here.” “I’m sorry, if you think I’m ignoring you. It’s just that I have a lot of pressure to finish this in time.” She apologized.
“It’s okay. I understand.” I replied.
“Do you need any help with that?” I asked.
“No. I’m good. Thanks.” She replied. “I think I can manage.” She added.
I continued enjoying my coffee as I watched her getting consumed in her work; so happy yet not so happy; peaceful yet disturbed. Her eyes…
I then reached across the table and helped myself to her book. Mud sweat, and tears by Bear Grylls.
“Like it?” She asked.
“Yeah, I do.” I answered. “Mind if I borrow it?” I asked
“Yes of course. I’m not done reading it.”
She then took a break from her work to enjoy her coffee. We talked for a while. Once in a while, she’d look down to write something.
She was new in town and a practicing lawyer working at a private firm in town. She had started work a few weeks back. She was still getting to know the town and its people.
Moments later, my phone rung. It was my boss was calling – needed something done. The internet was not working or the computer was lagging. I had to leave ASAP.
I called the waitress and asked her for my bill.
She noticed that I was about to leave. “Leaving already?” She asked.
“Yes. I’m needed back at work.” I answered.
“I think I might actually need some help with my report. Seems I underestimated the work.” She added.
“I’m sorry I can’t help right now.” I answered.
The waitress came back with both her bill and my bill. I paid both and was already dashing out. But I remembered I hadn’t got her name. I went back in.
“Name’s Oneil. Very nice to meet you.”
I stood there for close to a minute and she didn’t utter a single word or look up. She was probably ignoring me. It was now getting awkward with my arm stretched out; everyone in the room was now staring at me. I repeated again, this time I moved closer. She gave me the same treatment – I could now tell she was ignoring me. She was upset.
I walked out and on my way said hello to my friend – a bank manager who was seated close to the door with his companion.
To be continued…