Friday, November 11, 2011

Paper Lanterns and White Lights

We were a coffee shop couple. 
We spent our Friday nights at the same coffee shop, stuck in a very pleasant and predictable rut.
A smoothie, a mocha, and a deck of cards.
I have decided to come here tonight. 
I hired a sitter.  I have taken myself on a date.
My first Friday night here without him.
At that table, we played Peanuts.
Our standard game.
Two-person solitaire. 
He always beat me.
Except when he didn't.
And then he claimed to lose on purpose
just to keep me interested in the game. 
At that table, the one in the corner,
we streamed Pandora through his smartphone. 
There was a bad signal,
a long delay between songs.
He teased me for humming.
That booth, the one in the back,
that's where we sat on our last date,
the morning before he died.
My feet in his lap.
We texted each other,
things we could have whispered or even said out loud.
He posted on Facebook:
"On a date with a beautiful girl."
That couch,
that's where I sat to receive hundreds -
literally hundreds -
of guests at his calling hours,
his wake.
The night is both vague and vivid to me,
a smattering of images, sounds, and memories.
Tonight there is live music: a guitar and two vocalists.
Playing the best of John Mayer.
Paper lanterns and white lights swoop from the ceiling.
This room is as charming as it has always been.
I ask the baristas if I may give them a picture of us,
my husband and me. 
They smile, teary. 
They will put it on the mantle.
If ever a room tells our story,
this is the room.


Jaimie said...

How beautiful.

Noel said...

Ha, funny. This is my current favorite coffee shop. Maybe I'll see you around. xo

Gwen said...

You are a beautiful writer. I enjoy your blog.