Coffe shop stories.

A coffee shop. People - who are they? What are they?

A man to my left engrossed in his tablet - is he orchestrating a global conspiracy, choosing a mundane  spot to avoid discovery? His fingers twitch over the screen, downloading apps that will slither into the very workings of society, creating code that will cause our oh so safe lives to wake up to what's really around us. 

The mothers meet further down. They look to each other to find a community  that they feel excluded from - excepting one, she is searching for play dates so that she can have the affair she has always wanted. 

The plumbers next to me revel in their status as the aristocrats of tradesmen, ripping out and rebuilding houses with their words. Their movements are expansive and their voices loud and unencumbered by any anxieties about their place in the world - for no one knows the secrets of their arts. 

An old couple meet in the corner - they have been searching for each other for years, cruelly wrenched from a life they might have has by circumstances beyond their control. His fumbling fingers grasp at the mug saying "Thank you... I found you." She dusts away crumbs to say, "I know." 

Across from me a solitary novelist glares angrily, aware that another uses this space for refelction, and jealously guarding his imaginative space. He sees me tapping on my phone and scornfully returns to his laptop hopeful that this draft will be the one. 

The waitress moves around the tables tidying cups and plates and spoons. She has argued with her child's father this morning - he never seems to move from the table in their pokey kitchen, and she is anxious for him to get out and take control of his life. She is scared for her child, they have come such along way, it cannot be a waste. 

This is the world I live in, or at least my version of it. Inner and outer lives that ghost around the space we inhabit, and open us up to the tragedy and celebration of a life that is at its best when it is bittersweet. Contrast is what is provides sensation, and variation is what keeps us alive. 

I finish the dregs of my espresso  noting the smile in the still crystalline sugar, and go.