She was lost in her own thoughts as she jumped the broken curb trying to get out-of-the-way and out of the street as a van charged forward from a stopped position at a red light. Abby’s soaking wet blonde hair hung in front of her eyes.
“Doesn’t anyone watch where they’re going!” Shouted someone one from behind her.
She didn’t flinch but logged that experience towards the back of her mind. She had other things to worry about and currently picking at the hangnail on her thumb was one of them as she revisited the same thoughts from yesterday, this morning.
Was she stumped? Yes. Confused was more like it, really. How had she messed that friendship up? She hadn’t received any news in days, more like weeks and if she was honest with herself it had been months. Two months to be exact. Was that normal? Abby’s phone calls hadn’t been returned. Her mother had warned her about new friendships.
“Be careful, Abby.” She’d warned.
“Don’t expect more than someone can emotionally give. It has to be in their time and on their terms.” Mom said
Abby couldn’t understand why the effort to support her would have to take “effort”, on anyone’s part, in the first place. Friendship didn’t take real work, she had decided. Then in the same breath she had also decided to finally put her negative thoughts and possible lack of true friendship to rest for the day.
Abby chose not to look back at who was shouting in the street and also chose not to care if they were shouting at her. She’d done nothing wrong. She noticed a flash of lightning out of the corner of her eye. It was just the sudden jolt she needed to bring her back to reality.
While turning her eyes up towards the crowd around her she noticed trash. Trash everywhere. It seems no one even bothered to use a trash can anymore. She was sick of the city, sick of the traffic, sick of garbage, sick of the outdoors smelling dirty, sick of the competition and sick of continuously looking for a soul in everyone she met amid trying to live in harmony.
The door of a shop beside her slammed and a group of teenagers rushed past her while giggling and high-fiving, as they celebrated what must have been an early morning victory of some sort.
Why were they even up already?
She stopped and side-stepped them fearing for her safety, when out of nowhere the wind carried a piece of paper through the air and allowed it to smack her right between the eyes. She pushed it away with a roll of her fingers.
“This is what I’ve been talking about!” she shouted at no one in particular. No one was listening. Everyone around here was too busy chasing a dream to notice.
The piece of paper fell to the ground and she stomped on it. She didn’t want her name added to the invisible list of people who couldn’t be bothered to find a trash can. When she reached down to pick up the torn piece of paper she noticed it had an address and a small message underneath it.
763 W Founding Way
Meet me at the coffee shop, I Like My Coffee Black, first @ 10:30. Thanks, Jesse
It was written in shaky cursive handwriting and in blue ball point ink. Abby loved blue ball point ink pens. Medium point, too. Evidently, the person who wrote this note was on top of their pen game. She liked that.
Abby kept on down the sidewalk while holding the piece of paper. Yes, she was curious, most definitely she was. She wondered who was supposed to get this note and had they already seen it and were they already in route to the coffee shop this morning?
Without thinking it through she decided she’d walk the seven blocks to I Like My Coffee Black and see if she could figure out who Jesse was and if he or she had met the person they were scheduled to meet.
Abby hadn’t considered why she needed to go, in fact she hadn’t given it much thought at all. She didn’t even stop to consider a negative scenario? She could have found herself in a situation where her safety was in jeopardy, but it didn’t feel unsafe.
None of it really mattered anyway. She was bored in a city with thousands of opportunities for fun. None of it appealed to her and what had interested her, she’d done already.
Abby was looking for more out of her day. More than a quick adventure to appease her senses. She’d found that after all the gratification, she was left again with a need for more. She’d craved more “meat” from all her experiences lately. A need to feel full. Today’s note was just the push she needed for a reason to be engaged socially and to take a risk, one full of hopeful expectations.
Looking forward to sitting down with a cup of coffee and watching to see who came through the door perked her right up. It effectively changed her stumbled walk into a wispy side step as she moved towards the direction of the coffee shop. The rain had stopped moments before to her relief, as she felt her heartbeat quicken and her breathing become a bit more rapid. She had no idea where this piece of paper was going to lead her.
Honestly, it wasn’t going to lead her anywhere she’d figured, but the escape into a dreamland of what ifs would be so wonderfully fantastic that she couldn’t keep her thoughts still long enough to change her decision.
A million stories played out in Abby’s mind as she rounded the corner and walked towards the wrought iron patio of I Like My Coffee Black. Who would she look at first?
A woman, maybe holding a baby and getting ready to meet a potential nanny for the first time? A man, who’s hopeful that the twenty-first date will be with a woman interesting enough to hold his attention? Maybe family members just catching up on last week’s events.
All Abby knew was that Jesse was meeting someone here today for coffee.
As she entered the patio on the way to the front door she noticed everyone was engaged in conversation. Their body language was inviting. Chairs were opened up away from the tables to allow for anyone to join the table’s discussion. Laughter filled the void when conversation quieted and it sounded perfect. She went for the door realizing she loved the feel of the place just by walking through the semi crowded patio. Coffee shops were the perfect place for friends to meet, but more so it was a place where everyone shared at least one thing in common.
Common ground was a perfect place for anyone to start. On any day of the week.
While pulling on the door Abby felt a resistance. It was locked. She turned around confused, quickly searching the patio for a reason. Everyone was drinking coffee. They sold coffee here, so why was the door locked?
There must be some mistake. She turned back towards the door and scanned the windows for some sort of answer.
And there it was on the window just to the left of her, a flyer.
Abby quickly read the flyer.
I Like My Coffee Black’s First Event
Today’s event: Coffee and a Stranger: Together we’ll easily step into our common ground. We’ll drink coffee.
Then we’ll discuss, we’ll teach, we’ll learn, we’ll encourage, we’ll support, we’ll tell the truth, we’ll never give up, we’ll walk along side you, we’ll give, we’ll take and most of all we’ll enjoy each other’s company.
First Writer’s Event hosted by I Like My Coffee Black.
After today, see Jesse for the location of our weekly meeting.
And at the bottom of the flyer, a picture of Jesse. He must have been seventy years old.
She spun in a circle looking for the person in charge. Back in the left corner just past her initial view Abby found a coffee stand with a sign that said, On The House. Just to the side was a table with man sitting and waiting. He had inviting eyes which held laugh lines around them, a folded newspaper, a dimple that no one could hide and a quick foot. A foot that tapped the chair next to him and gave it a little push in Abby’s direction.
Was this a joke?
Abby’s eyes were wild with anticipation and interest while she processed the information she had just read and seen.
Everyone here had the same yearning, she’d witnessed. They’d all read the flyer and had stopped their lives to take a chance on life today.
All agreed to gamble the odds on finding someone to share their goals or dreams with. Maybe a new opportunity to encourage the young to work more, try harder and ask more questions. Or to possibly, without even realizing it, give the old a daily sense of accomplishment. They were all here to personally grow in relationships with other individuals. Individuals, who had the same need for conversation and growth.
Abby poured herself a cup of black coffee and quickly side-stepped her way towards that back table and towards a chance at true friendship.