15 April 2010

caribou coffee shop.

he comes in each morning. out of his bag he pulls a small stack of blank, unlined paper and two newly sharpened pencils. it reminds me of preparing for the SATs. he pours over his yellow language book. he is learning german. the tiny handwriting that quickly fills these pages betrays a mind that is working diligently and meticulously. sentences and phrases, all in german. and I can't help but wonder - what is he writing? the mystery of him distracts me from my reading. his routine breaks my own.

this man. maybe late 60s. he is what some in this city of high career fashion might call business casual. always with a button up shirt and a navy blue sport coat hung on the back of his chair. but never with a tie. his face kind of looks like a lizard. in all the good ways, of course. his nose just the smallest bit flattened. his bottom lip slightly sucked in as he writes and writes with his black fountain pen, stopping every so often to silently say the words he is learning. I wonder - why is he learning this? is he going to visit someone soon? maybe a son or daughter who has just moved there? maybe for work? or for love? and I wonder - is he happy with the progress he is making today?

a slim band of gold reveals his fidelity to a wife who I have seen just a few times. for a little while he was on crutches and she would follow him in every morning with his bag of books and paper and pencils. he would get settled as she grabbed a quick cup of coffee. then, a quick kiss goodbye and she was out the door, leaving him to uncover a new set of words that must seem to take on such new meaning as he learns them in a different tongue. I wonder - is he learning german for her? does he go home every night and recount his day's work, saying the words slowly so she may know them too? and I wonder - how long have they been married? I hope for a good long while. and I hope they are happy.

this is the man I see every morning. the man I study as he studies his books. I have so many questions for him. maybe someday I'll get up the courage to ask.

1 comment:

Rachel Elizabeth said...

you should! he intrigues me, maybe we could chat with him together when i come in august! i love you darling carrie!!