I tuck my feet up under myself and open my book. The guy beside me is engrossed in a copy of Orwell’s 1984. He casually sips his Styrofoam-encased coffee while idly turning a page. With a gust of cold air the door opens and a young girl joins him at his table. Her enthusiasm is a deep contrast to his relaxed demeanor. She tells him of her band practice for church, her plans for her next years education including a semester abroad and maybe a mission in the summer, if she can find an internship first, to pay for all the incidentals. Her speech is peppered with interjections (such as “like”), making it hard to concentrate on the meaning of her sentences.
I smile and think of a recent conversation with a good friend, worrying about her vocabulary. “I need to work on my vernacular,” she laughed, “I mean, I still say “like” and I’m doing my masters in Sociology. Maybe I should enroll in English 0130.”
There’s a man typing away on his laptop, barely audible over the coffee house music, a pacifying blend of piano chords and string instruments. His glasses are neatly folded and placed on a book beside him. Every so often he gets up for a cigarette, for a refill, for a bathroom break. The intensity with which he is concentrating on his screen reminds me of my boss filling his financial reports and I imagine this man is doing the same.
A girl heaves into a chair across the room, sighing loudly as she places her text book down. I recognize her as the girl who made my latte. She works here a few days a week while she’s in University studying chemistry, economics or perhaps philosophy. The free coffee and quiet place to study almost make up for the endless parade of odd people she deals with on a daily basis.
I pull my gloves and jacket on, in preparation for the chill that awaits me outside. It’s not yet snowing though there’s the feeling of snow in the air. The quiet, crisp cold and lack of clouds almost guarantee the morning will bring the brightness of a new snow. I adjust my jacket and step outside, the soft chords following me as I make my way up the street, back home.