Saturday, April 19, 2014

In the Cafe

As I sat in the cafe in town cuddling a hot coffee with my fingers against the cold of a late winter rain in April, a strange looking man in a dark long coat approached my table. He gave me a begging look and I nodded my head. He moved a chair out and sat down across from me in a slow and deliberate manner, adjusting the tails of his long coat about his thighs and the chair, removing his woolen gloves which were a greenish color but were mottled with spots of varying color and sheen. He placed his gloves down on the table and rubbed under his nose with the index finger of his left hand a couple of times, picked up a paper napkin and carefully folded it once and wiped under his nose again with the napkin then wadded the napkin in his left hand and tucked it into his coat pocket. With his right hand he signaled the waitress, the index finger extended properly up toward the ceiling, and said with a rough voice, "Coffee, please."

The waitress brought his coffee and topped mine up almost over filling my cup. I poured some out into the saucer to make room for the cream and sugar. I noticed the waitress was staring at the strange looking man sitting across from me, her mouth open a little bit and a look of disbelief in her eyes. Not a lot of disbelief, only a small amount. I, too, began staring at the strange looking man. He didn't seem to notice.

When it looked like he was settled in and had cream and sugar in his coffee and was cuddling his cup with his fingers against the cold I thought to start a conversation but was having trouble thinking of something to start a conversation with. I just sat in my chair cuddling my coffee cup with my cold fingers against the cold of the day lifting my cup up off the table for a warm sip now and then, looking around the cafe and at the strange looking man and I began to notice things. Things about the strange looking man.

I noticed he was wearing a knit cap like a Navy watch cap only it wasn't black like a Navy watch cap. It was the color of a bosc pear when it is ripe and succulent and most tasteful, a dark brownish yellow. The cap also had sewn on it a bright yellow Star of David like the ones the Nazis made the Jews wear in the ghettos in Poland during the holocaust, only it wasn't. It just looked like one. I wondered why it was bright and not dingy and mottled like the gloves and the cap upon which it was sewn. His long coat was probably not one color either but in the dim light of the cafe I could not see it as good as I could see the gloves and his cap.

I really didn't want to have a conversation with him so I stopped thinking about it. We both sat there, holding onto our coffees wrapped in our cold fingers and sipping some now and then, not speaking, only looking around the cafe and noticing things. After a while of this I began thinking that perhaps he thought I was strange looking and maybe he didn't want to do anything to start a conversation with me and maybe he stopped thinking about that too and just decided to just sit there and drink his coffee.

He took a good, noisy sip of his coffee and set his cup down on the table and gripped it moving his fingers around it like a golfer setting his grip on a driver so that the warmth could be spread to some of his colder fingers. "Cold out, ain't it?" he said.

Damn, I thought.


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