Sitting down at a small table, by myself, was not something I would normally be comfortable doing.
But it fit my mood and my need.
I sat watching the people. The people on the sidewalk passing the large glass window I sat behind.
A large cup of coffee sat by my elbow.
A notebook sat in the bag I threw on the table. Ready to be filled with words. Words that would express a thought. Develop into an idea. Style a character. Create a story.
On top of the notebook was Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast”.
The notebook and the book still sat in the bag.
Soon, my chin sat in my hand, my elbow on the table and the cup of warm coffee nestled in my other hand.
And I stared.
At every single story walking past the window.
It was a perfect day. A little chilly. A little grey. A little breezy.
Perfect writing weather.
There was little activity behind me. The cafe was softly lit. With little sound but a quiet hum coming from some machine or other.
There was little activity in front of me. Outside the window. Just those people walking past. And their stories.
I flipped open the flap of my rusack. Started to pull the notebook and the book out. Instead, I kept my chin in my left hand. And put my right hand on top of the book and notebook. Flipping my thumb over the worn corners of the book. Flicker my thumb from the underneath, to the top of the corner. Flapping the corners to make a soft flip sound.
It was a comforting sound.
I flipped as I thought about Hemingway. And others. Sitting in cafes. Sitting in taverns. Sitting in pubs. On chilly days. Writing with pencils in script I would be honored to see. On pages not quite white. And heavy with the weight of pulp.
I thought about people being curious, and intrigued, by story telling. By poetry. By the writer themselves.
I thought about the atmosphere of sitting in that moment where great writers wrote words that others found brilliant. Or worthy. Or stimulating.
I stopped flipping and felt again for the warmth of the coffee.
Staring at more stories walking past the window. I would pick one and watch as they walked past. And watch as long as I could without moving my head. Imaging what they were going to. And knowing I could never create a story as real as that existence that just passed before my eyes.
I was sad.
Sad that there wasn’t an aura of anticipation for what someone would write. There was no one to sit and have a discussion on the story with. The meaning. The interpretation. The idea of it all, the start, the middle, the finish. The feeling it left lingering in thoughts. Or the lack of thoughts it did not inspire.
I sat up.
Gently I pushed the notebook and book back in the rusack. Took a sip of coffee.
Left the table. Walked out of the door after smiling at the young man behind the counter. And walked past the window I had just a second ago been sitting behind.
As I walked past the window I glanced back in at the ghost of the writer sitting at the table looking at the story walking past the window.