The Coffee Shop and the Man
When the man walks out, she, the coffee shop, decides to follow him.
The people in the coffee shop — barista, two dudes, two women — hold on tight for the ride. They
are surprised to be moving so suddenly. This coffee shop is not known for walking.
The man walks and walks.
He walks downtown and then takes to the neighborhood. Past the church and past city hall.
Through the cemetery he goes, and over the bridge.
He walks to the airport.
Actually this is the coffee shop's first time moving. She had never had the urge.
The customers inside her kick and scream as if they weren't born yet. They roll around, bumping
into each other. The mugs are all broken. The espresso machine is upside down on the floor.
The customers thought they knew so much about important things, but now they know the truth:
they never understood a thing. If a coffee shop could get up and go for a stroll then there must be
other questions they haven't thought of.
Coffee Shop: Settle down my little ones. The ride will be over. Someday.
The coffee shop gets to board the plane first since she has little ones. She takes the window seat,
the one that is actually assigned to the man.
Man: Fifteen B?
Coffee Shop: Seat's taken.
Man: Have we met?
Coffee Shop: I don't know. Have we?
Man: You sure look familiar.
Coffee Shop: I've heard that before.
Man: Well, either way, you're in my seat.
Coffee Shop: Unlikely.
Man: But look, here. At my ticket. Fifteen B.
Coffee Shop: Oh, how embarrassing. I'm fifteen A.
The man breathes tiredly. Perhaps annoyed. It's been a long journey. After sitting for ten minutes
he closes his eyes and tries to sleep.
The coffee shop tries to sleep, too.
Both try to sleep, but in time give up. There's no point in trying to sleep on a plane.
The flight is long and quiet. When there's turbulence the man and the coffee shop bump elbows.
Once, he thinks maybe the coffee shop bumped his elbow on purpose. He thinks, Maybe she
actually wants to touch me.
For the next hour he tries to think of ways to have his elbow accidentally touch her elbow. She
has pretty arms, he thinks. She has pretty feet and pretty legs and pretty hair and pretty green
eyes and pretty pretty pretty.
The plane flies over an ocean and several islands.
Plane: Cute couple.
Cloud: She's taller, but check out his arms.
Plane: He's not the coolest dude on the plane, but looks pretty tough. Like a nice tough guy.
Cloud: She's like a yoga-hipster-Amazon woman thing, or something. But her kids are annoying.
Plane: Maybe I should throw her kids out of me?
Cloud: You're the boss.
The coffee shop children are displaced to the exit aisle. They are hysterical, not used to being
away from their mother.
Plane: She's not your mother.
They: If she's not our mother then who is?
The plane opens the exit door and the children fly out as if they are made out of paper.
Man: There they go. Down to Fiji.
Coffee Shop: What new and exciting lives they'll lead there! I feel lighter.
The man tells the coffee shop his name.
The coffee shop tells the man her name.
They shake hands and smile.
His hand is small but strong. Her hand is large but gentle.
Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you.
The plane flies over countries and oceans and continents.
The man chooses pretzels and coffee.
The coffee shop chooses a KIND bar and coffee.
Man: Would you like a pretzel?
The coffee shop hates pretzels but takes one anyway and puts it in her mouth and tastes it. The
pretzel is surprisingly good, not too salty.
Coffee Shop: Would you like a sip of my coffee?
Although the man has his own coffee he doesn't hesitate. Her coffee tastes better to him than his
own coffee. Although they are the same: two creamers, no sugar.
They look out the plane's window at the stars. There are many stars. Too many stars to count.
When he reaches to hold her hand she is already there, waiting. This has never happened to the
man. Usually the girl has to make the first move
Since he is the smaller of the two, he leans on her.
She puts her head on his head. His head smells nice and clean like rain and essential oils.
They fall asleep. It's the best sleep either has ever had. A full fifteen hours of blissful sleep.
The plane lands.
Plane: Everyone get off.
The passengers walk out on the island.
Things are happening on this island. Atrocious things. The coffee shop has read about these very
things in The New Yorker and Harper's and Time.
The things look at the passengers and are happy to get them mixed up in the things.
Things: Look at all them passengers!
Passengers: Where did you come from?
Things: Where does the wind come from?
The man and the coffee shop walk hand in hand to the water for a swim. The things follow, but
neither the man nor the coffee shop take notice.
They strip down to their underwear timidly, and enter the water and swim out to the floating
Man: I love a good floating dock.
Coffee Shop: Do you think it will hold me?
Man: We'll never know unless we try.
When she hoists herself up, the rope detaches from the anchor. Now the dock is a raft.
They hold hands as they float together toward a never before inhabited destination.
Things: There they go!
Other Things: No! Now we'll never catch them.
Pierré V! has stories forthcoming in Santa Monica Review and Passages North.