page 25

by beginningstoendings

“I’m so sorry.  I was thinking out loud of something I’m sort-of writing.  Please sit.”  I move my knitted sweater-jacket and the medium height, medium build, handsome John Doe puts his coffee on the bar counter.  “I tend to zone out on weekends.  Again I’m sorry.”

“It’s really no problem, it happens to the best of us.”  A statement that I assume he makes referring to himself.  He says this while taking a sip of an Americano and some of the crema (how cool am I for knowing what it is?) clings to his top lip, he licks, and I return to staring out the window.  The low-lying clouds dissolve once more into a drizzle, reaching like clammy tree branches down onto glass-skinned Vancouver.  The droplets speckle the window, and water coats the saturated concrete of Horoscope’s “patio” with another application of gloss.  My coffee steams the bottom of my chin as I stuff buttered Urban Apple/Spice into my mouth.  Healthy muffin my ass.

“You write?”  The stranger is asking me a question.  I’m totally unprepared and the wad of muffin I’m chewing has mixed with saliva and it’s now far too large to swallow suavely and not choke and die on.  I try to chew fast to answer and attempt a sip of coffee to speed the breakdown process, bad move.  The bolus has begun to congeal in the back of my throat—I try everything possible to stifle my gag reflex.  I choke. Images of me spewing expensive baked good and coffee sludge over the window and the handsome gentleman dart through my brain.  Damn Vancouver and its alternative grains that are indigestible.

I recover…luckily.