I take the same route to work every day.
Pass the same shops with their huge picturesque windows. I may glance at a funky, psychedelic skirt or cute blazer every now and then. But I never stop to look inside. Or even attempt to veer toward the door to enter the boutique.
Or stationary store.
Or gourmet cookware shoppe.
Or cafe. And there’s a crowded cafe every few hundred feet in this city.
Years ago I used to live inside of Dan’s Trolley Stop Coffee Shop. My fiancé and I would stop in before work. Dan would have my favorite Colombian brew ready to go. We would hang out there after work almost every day. And on weekends- enjoying the live bands in the evenings and watching the people dance and shimmy with strangers to get to their friends.
Dan died a few years ago.
I haven’t been back since. I’ve convinced myself that the Colombian just doesn’t taste the same without Dan.
And my fiancé no longer fit. I guess the demise of Us can be found in my lack of interest in any of our activities prior to Dan’s passing. I loved listening to live bands. Loved the atmosphere. Loved feeling the thump, thump, thump of the base in my chest. Loved the ringing in my ears after a particularly heavy Heavy Metal Band. Loved people watching. Making up stories about their lives. Wondering how close to the truth those stories were. But most of my enthusiasm died with Dan. No matter where we ended up or who we hung out with, we always started the adventure at Dan’s. I lost my start. I loved my fiancee and was excited to become the Mrs. after grad school. But I lost my start. My future Mr. could no longer see the twinkle he fell in love with. I pushed too hard. So, on my same route to work, I focus on my destination so my eyes won’t wander too much. And my mind won’t wonder too much. I miss my Mr. but I pushed too hard. I’d like to be an Us again. But I’d hurt him and too much time had passed. I pushed too hard so I fought harder to keep from peering into those windows.
Today, as I retraced the 10,000 footsteps to my destination, my senses take over. The aroma that seems to seep through a beautiful bow window is all too familiar. And I look.
My mind is saying, “No. It can’t be. No! Don’t look!”
But I look. I look in through that beautiful bow trying to find the source of the heart melting, skin tingling, excitement-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach, aroma that is Columbian. Dan’s Columbian. My mind and my heart are at odds. I know it can’t be. But, oh, how I want it to be….
I do not realize that I am standing in the middle of the cafe until I hear, “Excuse me? Would you like to have a seat?” What? I cannot speak at this moment. Lips will not move. Words will not form.
“Ma’am? Are you okay?”
“I’ll handle this, Katie. Can you get table two please?” The sound of his words slid slowly down my back to that spot that only he could make tingle. I knew my face said the million words that I could not.
My Mr. said, “Hi, honey. I’ve been waiting for you.”