Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Snippet of a Conversation

“May I go to the restroom?” he asked. And then a moment later, “Please?”

I stared. “You don’t have to ask my permission to leave”. I was flustered.

“I know”, he replied quietly. “But it is polite to ask.”

I lowered my glance and nodded my assent. He stood up and heeled his chair back into position.

“Can I bring you anything back?”

His voice was playful, and I rose to the challenge.

“Yes”, I said. “Bring me back the mirror.”

We both blushed. He started to say something, hesitated, and then turned away.

I looked around the coffee shop. On the bookshelf next to our table was stacked an odd assortment of books - some which I would never have imagined belonged in such an establishment. I pulled out a volume on the wines of Tuscany and lazily flipped through its pages. Friends of mine, a couple, were visiting Italy. I remembered her asking me if I would like them to bring me back a bottle of Italian wine. She had called me a connoisseur. I smiled despite myself. Although I would like to be, I am not a good judge of flavors. I prefer Beaujolais to Burgundy. Some people tell me that is sacrilegious, but I have never understood why.

I glanced at my mug of Ethiopian coffee. Strong. Bitter. Overpriced. And served in an awfully ugly mug. Most “cool” coffee shops serve their hot beverages in hideous mugs. They are meant to be artistic, I suppose. I try to be broad-minded about these things, but to my rather primitive and untrained mind, all art – all appealing art at any rate – needs to be aesthetically pleasing. I put the book back on its shelf. The book at least had aesthetically pleasing pictures.

I closed my eyes and listened to the lowered voices of the other customers. Coffee shop conversations always sound so intimate. I sighed and opened my eyes. He had returned, a boyish grin on his face.

“I tried”, he said earnestly. “The mirror wouldn’t come off the wall.”

I giggled with mirth at the thought. He extended his hand and I saw a shiny quarter in it.

“It’s like a mirror”, he said. “I can’t believe I found this. It has been ages since I found a coin.”

I took the extended quarter from his fingers and looked into his face. I could not tell if he was lying. Coffee shop conversations are meant to be mysterious. And the lights were too dim for me to care.


Rhett said...

That is some good prose. I liked it. You write admirably well.

Regarding your question in your comment, viz.: 'What's your story?'
My story I think would be that I always had had an artistic streak in me. Eventually, it boiled down to my writing. I deeply love literature, always have.

Azalea said...

Thank you for the compliment. There is no more fertile ground for inspiration than real life - I only reported what happened. :-)