As the weeks continued to drift by, I started to wonder whether you were really handling this difficult situation as well as you seemed to be. Some days you came in looking tired and sad, but the majority of the time you appeared very positive and upbeat about your life. After a while you started bringing someone with you every few visits. Once it was your sister, then a guy friend. I was glad that you were starting to live a little again, but it made me uncertain whether I should try to get to know you a little better or if that would be a bad idea.
Lily asked me one day why you seemed to talk to me more than to anyone else in the shop, and I could only shrug my shoulders. She also made a mention about my personal coffee tab and asked whether you ever paid for anything here. I think I made some awful joke about it that I can’t even remember right now.
And then, two days ago, on a Monday morning, you walked through the door less than ten minutes after we opened for business. It was earlier than you usually came in, so I commented on the time. Your response was confused and muddled, which was amusing because you never stumbled over your words.
I laughed a little before taking your order, which was still the same caramel latte. After paying, you hesitated for a moment, then went to your usual table. I watched you lay your book on the table, but stare out the window instead of starting to read. There were two other orders to make first, so I did them and then carefully made your latte exactly the way you like it.
When I set the cup down beside your book, you looked up and smiled warmly. “Thank you.”
“Is there anything else I can get you?” I asked, smiling back.
“Actually, I wanted to ask you something,” she turned in her chair so that she was facing me. “Would you like to go get coffee sometime? Not here, but somewhere?”
I could not wipe the smile off my face for the rest of the day.