The girl stepped into the cafe by the wharf, immediately overwhelmed yet at home with the aroma of coffee. She scans the area, keeping alert for the best available spots. The communal table is taken, occupied by a group of girls laughing and talking over each other. She spies a narrow passageway behind the table, and thinks she sees more tables there. Squeezing past the table, she makes her way through the narrow path, and her heart flutters as she found out she was right: There they were, small window seats for no more than 2 people, in a quiet corner away from the chatter in front. The girl picks the one at the farthest corner, and settles in.
The lady at the counter comes over, and the two exchange friendly greetings and smiles. The girl notices the lady has brought two menus and two glasses for water. Before the lady could lay the menus down, the girl speaks: “I’d just like a latte.”
“Sure,” came the friendly reply. The menus were placed and left on the table, as were the glasses of water, before the lady turned and walked back to the counter.
With a slightly amused feeling, the girl pushes the menus aside, fills a glass for herself, and places the other cup a distance away as well. She takes her book out and begins to read, occasionally looking up to contemplate what she has read, and to admire the beautiful expanse of water which lay beside her.
“Your latte.” The girl’s thoughts were interrupted momentarily as her coffee arrives. Smiling as she admires and prepares to take her usual pictures of the coffee art, she did not notice the barista hovering nearby.
“Are you… Waiting for someone?” The question comes.
“Oh, no.” The girl looks up in surprise as she replies. “No.” She smiles.
“Ok.” Without skipping a beat, the menus and extra cup were removed from the table.
The girl settles back into her reflective and contemplative silence, surprised at how easy it had been to admit her solitude and bask in it. What a long way she has come, from being the girl who used to feel uncomfortable with being asked why she liked to spend time alone so often.
The girl smiles and resumes her book, occasionally looking up to contemplate on what she has read and to admire the beautiful expanse of water around her.
Author’s note: The girl in this short narrative isn’t me, as much as it could have been. I did hear the question being asked to another solitary soul in the cafe I was at, and from that exchange came the inspiration for this piece of writing, reflecting my own imposition of perspectives and thoughts. It was very comforting to see another solitary soul in the same space, each of us enjoying our own company, being alone but never lonely 🙂