Thursday, December 06, 2007

Café America

“Here you go, sweetie,” said Theresa, setting a pot of tea on the table as an old suit in the adjacent chair looked on. “I hope I put enough water in it.” It’ll be just fine, said the boy with gauges in his ears.

Bearing crooked teeth, twice she asked me what kind of milk I’d like in my sipping chocolate, yet the tone in her voice bore genuine concern; reflecting kindness and not stupidity that drove such attempts at precision.

Meanwhile, a tall, overweight teenager in an unzipped sweatshirt and a mop of a haircut tapped his right foot incessantly on the support underneath his high-top table.

Right now I’m thumbing through what has become quite a large pile of magazines, reaching the point where I know beyond any measure of doubt that I have read every word worth reading on every shelf in this little place – the shelves bearing magazines, anyway. I felt a little sad knowing I’d reached the end.

My phone rang.

“Hi, Ben, it’s Amanda Weston. I’m renting the house you inquired about…”

Kindly enough personality, but it turns out that the “Vacant Room Near Campus - $450” listing is actually a quasi-hospice for recently divorced women. It’s not like this by design, of course, but life has a funny way of turning the innocent into the conspicuous. Two tenants, Amanda being one of them, both women in their early thirties, have taken up arms in defense of Amanda’s home and perhaps the whole of the male gender in the process. Charmed by my emails, she felt compelled to give me a call and see what the chances were that I take up residence right there with the two of them. It was as if they’d extended the olive branch, so to speak. On this day, it was kindness that reigned victorious.

Happy Holidays.

1 comment:

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