Friday, October 12, 2012

Hot Chocolate

Have you ever been sat in a coffee shop, enjoying a warm mug, when a beautiful woman walks in? There is a ripple through the room.  It starts with the not so studious student at the back who glances up from behind his Steinbeck or Kerouac or Proust, to see who caused the bell to ring, or the breeze to blow, or the traffic noise to enter.  You know it’s someone interesting because his glance is not 5 seconds, but 25, or 45 seconds.  Then this reverie is replaced by him losing himself back into his fiction and his vivisection of the author’s words.

The next to notice is that old codger, one who would have been sucking idly on a pipe, but this is 2013, not 1973.  They have evolved over the years, depending where and when you are.  It would have, at one time, been a peaked cap like a sailor’s, and a Guernsey sweater, or fair isle, but now, and here, it’s an aging hippy, a soft collared shirt replacing his homemade tie day, and a grey haired ponytail, the remnants of a tamed dead head.  The eyes carry that “if I were ten years younger look”.

These clues and cues get other middle aged, middle classed men turning to see the attraction, and the wives, girlfriends, daughters all turn to see what the fuss is.  And this transient wave of admiration and smiles of varying caliber passes swiftly through the place.

Have you ever been sat in a coffee shop, enjoying a warm mug of cocoa, when a beautiful woman walks in?  Your day has been stacked on your yesterday, and your yesterday’s yesterday, and each has been longer than the preceding one.  You are lost in idle thoughts, watching the swirl of chocolate syrup melt into the whipped cream that is melting into the cocoa.

She walks into the room and notices you didn't notice.  You didn’t flinch at the bell.  You didn’t stiffen at the breeze.  You didn’t huff at the hum of traffic.  The wave passed over you, and all that happened is your peripheral vision registered legs to your left, not a threat, just a presence, not related to you.

Have you ever been sat in a coffee shop, enjoying the look and smell and feel of a hot mug of cocoa that warms you after the mid-fifties chill wind which whipped foaming waves off the giant Californian sea loch, when a beautiful woman tugs playfully at a wisp of stray hair on your head, a playful non-verbal “Hey you”?  And before you have chance to pick up your spectacles and put them on, she is stood talking to the barista twenty feet away.  You’d felt vaguely aware of someone alongside you, but they had not addressed you, and though your peripheral vision had acknowledge “legs like hers” you had not perceived “her legs”.

You look across the coffee shop, now fully focused, with corrected vision, back in this world and not lost in your own.  There she is, and that wave has past, and everyone else has had their moment of paying heed to that grace and beauty, and you alone are looking upon your loveliness; knowing the sound of the voice too distant to hear, hearing the order for tea, imagining the phrasing, the politeness, the softness.  Though all you can see is the back of her head, you know the smile that rests on that face; you know the transient expressions that meet each challenge from the server.  And then she turns to rejoin you, and you can see that her days too have been too long, but her spirit shines through, and you know your spirit is lifting and you feel a shine through your own jaded self, just knowing she is there for you.

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