while(self++) { #96 } // Coffee Shop Stories

I’m by NYU, sitting in a coffee shop, bearing witness to the many creative souls occupying the space — huddled over laptops, notebooks, coffees. The establishment itself, Think Coffee, nods at me. Me, nursing my own wandering thoughts about everyone else’s thoughts. I see a couple playing Scrabble. Perhaps they are only friends. I can’t know. Three men are arranged like ducks in a row, all wearing glasses, all staring intently at their screens. Two apples sandwiching a window. One of the apples sports a man bun. I passed by someone earlier, his notebook pages covered in small writing, the musings of an evil genius, or a great writer, or just a writer. A pair of friends complain to each other behind the pillar next to me. Perhaps they are not only friends. I can’t know.

I sit with my tea. With my donut. The warmth and sweetness keep me company. I note the glass of red, the beer, and the blood orange San Pellegrino keeping me company, too. A lonely book sits between them. I hadn’t noticed them before. The evil genius is gone. The window is gone. The two apples remain. The Scrabble game gets more interesting; the wine has come out. The talkative pillar gets louder. It’s talking about its dating life, its future kids, its beliefs. The tea is getting cold. It’ll soon be gone. The donut remains. It’s time to go, I think.

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