The Coffee Shop*

Sitting in the tiny coffee shop, she contemplates her life. Like the vibrant establishments she used to frequent, her world has been compressed from multi-cultural, ever-changing cacophonies of humanity to a 15-seat, whitewash of retirees, closing in 50 minutes. At three o’clock. In the afternoon.

               No one forced this, she actively chose every step that led her to this corner of the world, but there are times the sum of individual, unrelated choices a person makes appears before you like a billboard in Times Square. Large. Unavoidable. Obnoxious.

My favourite coffee shop, in Paris
Although not my local, this is my favourite coffee shop in Paris

Playing on the radio…

Gord and The Hip serenade her back from her panic as she takes stock.

               “You can’t be fond of living in the past ‘cause if you are, then there’s no way that you’re gonna last.”

               Her mind flipped through chapters in her private storybook; skinny dipping in a lake, dancing under the disco-ball sky, the pound of the fist on her face, the sound of lock bolting him out, watching her belly rise and fall with each child she carried then eventually bade farewell as they embarked on their own journeys, bored meetings within board meetings. And moving. Moving on, moving away, moving towards, moving along. Moving. Always moving.

               With such apparently fertile ground for inspiration, how can she be so blocked in execution?

               Her laptop sits in judgement before her. She stares at the blinking cursor staring right back at her from the blank page.







               Had her life really become the inevitable cliché she had always dreaded? Nothing original. Scene after scene a dull, vapid impersonation of the remarkable lives she once studied before hers had barely begun. Sitting alone in the corner of the coffee shop waiting for a revelation, she watches the people come and go around her hoping to get a glimpse into the eyes of her next protagonist.

               She looks up at the clock, ticking away, mocking her inactivity with every sweep of the second hand.

2:45 pm

“We’re closing in 15 minutes, folks.”

               ‘Folks’ being her.

               She wonders, in a life that is condensed to a beautiful home in a beautiful setting, miles away from her family, eons away from the life she once led, how was she to find something to write about? She had exhausted the sunrises and sunsets as source material and the neighbourhood deer offered no suggestions.

               So, in an act of brave, ridiculous, unwarranted, misplaced yet inspirational hope, she closes her laptop and commits to coming back in the morning.

“Let’s just see what tomorrow brings.”

Wrapping up

She finishes her decaf and returns her mug to the counter, smiling at the kind, welcoming server behind the counter. “Thank you.”

“Thanks for coming by; hope to see you again.”

“You bet.” And she meant it.

“In a big country, dreams stay with you, like a lover’s voice ‘cross the mountainside. State of mind.”

*Author’s Note: I wrote this at the deepest point of my writer’s block/depressive state and I can assure you, I’m feeling MUCH better these days. I wanted to share because I feel it’s worthwhile to share our struggles as much as our triumphs, if not more so. I hope you find more hope than upset in this piece.

As always, with love.

If you need someone to talk to, please reach out to someone you trust, a healthcare professional or your local crisis line. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CAMH) has a few lines on their website. You can find them here.

One response to “The Coffee Shop*”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: