We had braved Caffe Amadeus, four adults and two babies walking the seven blocks through bright fall sunshine and the crunch of red and yellow leaves under stroller wheels.
And now my baby slept in her stroller bed and theirs laughed at everyone and everything and I don’t know what chestnut is supposed to taste like but my chestnut latte was perfect, coffee and cream and a hint of sweet swirled together, thick on top.
They pulled out the game we play every time we see them but we just read the cards this time, unsure of how long the babies would let us sit. And from my chair in the corner I could see out the big windows to the sidewalk tables on the other side.
I haven’t been to work in five weeks. I haven’t written a story or called a source or conducted an interview. I haven’t had a deadline shift of typing police reports, even over homecoming weekend.
So there was no reason I should feel particularly involved when I saw him settle there at that sidewalk table, newspaper in his hand.
He was an older gentleman – most of our readers are, I think – with white hair and a white beard that was short, scruffy: a young man grown old. He’d bought some frozen drink with whipped cream on top, entirely out of keeping with his appearance. And he sat there in the sunshine, flipping through the paper page by page.
I watched him lay aside the first section, pick up the second.
And my baby started waking and my friends had moved on to a new card and I turned away from the window and the man with the newspaper.
But it made me happy, all the same.