It’s raining outside. Pouring, actually. Flash floods. The fan in my truck has stopped working. I bought a little 12 volt fan to plug into the outlet but it is nearly useless. The windows fog so much that I can nearly wring out the towel I use to keep them clear.
I find a place to park. A little coffee shop downtown called Serda’s. It’s your typical hipster café though maybe a little more uptown. Leather couches barely a year old instead of the usual second hand store leftovers. Tile floors. High ceilings. Urban music, the same you hear in coffee shops from coast to coast, plays softly. The place is non-descript. Middle of the road. Harmless.
The wi-if is fast. The coffee is good.
There is a middle aged business couple to my left. Happy to not be drinking alcohol as they get to know each other. They are obviously trying to get to know each other. She is dressed in business clothes. Has a nice rain coat. He is wearing khaki shorts and a polo. His day off. Not hers. His foot rests on the crossbar of the high barstool she sits on. He speaks with his hands just enough to touch her often. She smiles when he does. They will each go home alone but with hope.
The couple to my right, young and enthusiastic about a business venture, collaborate on a web page. They focus on the logo. She plays with her hair. He absent mindedly puts his stylus in his mouth. She is holding back. Left leg over right. His feet are both planted firmly on the ground. He plays with his long beard. They laugh.
The woman at the window, a massive textbook open in front of her, does her homework. Stares out the window. Dreams of how her life might be when she graduates. Wonders if it will be worth it. It will be.
A young man across the room has EarPods jammed into his head which rocks gently as he plays on his phone. Another taps away one-handed while he texts. Another, more engrossed, furiously stabs with the thumbs of both hands.
I sit and drink a double cappuccino vanilla (dry, of course, there is no better way to enjoy cappuccino) and witness this small grouping of humanity. Safe from the rain. Out of the humidity. I watch their hands. Their eyes. Mouths. Their movements. Their silence. And I wonder.
What do these people have in common aside from a taste for expensive coffee in a trendy cafe?
I close my eyes for a second and look back in time, If I look back far enough I can see connected relatives. The woman and man to my left come from the same ancestor as the young man to my right. If I look farther back I see that those people came from the same family of amphibian that first crawled from the sea. The same bacteria that, through some bizarre molecular hiccup, became something more than bacteria. If I look back even further I can see that everyone here, everything here, the chairs, walls, coffee, even the air, all came from a singularity. The entire universe compressed to the point that it could no longer support its condensed self and explodes into trillions of trillions of trillions of tiny pieces that hurtle through an ever expanding void of darkness. We are literally star stuff.
How could I ever feel alone, ever feel singled out, ever wonder if there was something more to life, knowing this?
The thumb tapper is gone. The head rocker remains as does the daydreaming student.
The young couple to my right finish their business. Hug uncomfortably at the door. Go opposite directions when they step outside.
The middle aged couple will be here long after I’m gone. I silently wish them luck.
I will stay long enough to post this and then drive home.
Home. What a beautiful word.