We quit caffeine a few months ago but the ritual of Saturday afternoons in the the small coffee shop never ceased. The scrabble game that lay between us acted as punctuation marks to our excessively intense conversations over herbal tea.
For the first time in months we invited an outsider into our meeting, forgetting for that fleeting moment how impenetrable our bubble can be.
Whispered accusations of cheating slowly moved into gallows humor as the words on the scrabble board turn dark.
Sensing an opportunity, he asks how we met; how two people from such vastly different backgrounds find themselves sitting in a coffee shop together every Saturday. We both stop mid-sip, communicating with our eyes how this moment will play out.
Our story unravels slowly. We take turns telling our beginning, equal parts tempered outrage and unashamed mirth lace our voices as they grow louder with each exasperated exclamation of our first meeting. His face slowly fell, not expecting such a bleak start to our companionship but compelled that our perseverance led us to Saturday coffees, and Wednesday morning walks through the woods.
The barista has known us for years; has watched us come and go, sharing bits of ourselves with her over warm drinks and slightly burnt brownies. We are shocked she’s standing at our table making a face of frustration that she is bothering us; understanding our story better than anyone outside the two of us could ever hope. She quietly tells us we need to leave. No explanation other than a covert nod to a table of older gentlemen. We just looked at her, confused, were they angry about our volume or the dark tinges our story took as our first night came to a close? Was it the humor that we now saw in an otherwise terrible situation?
We stood, sending penetrating glares to the table of now gawking men as we grabbed our coats and stormed out feeling righteous indignation at being banned, if only for the day.