I have this bird’s eye view of a couple sitting across from each other in just another one of Seattle’s coffee shops. Technically, I am on the same level as they, separated by a doorway without a door obstructing my vision… So, technically, I am blatantly staring, but “bird’s eye view” has a much more sacred, peaceful, romantic feel to it, does it not? It also makes me feel less creepy, as if I am not enraptured (which I am), and frankly a little lustful (also, guilty), after the love the two obviously share.
Separated by an expanse of a large wood table between them, how can I tell that they love each other? Well, it’s the look of affection, of contentment, on each of their faces- how they glance up at each other every few seconds in between scribbles of their respective work. She is reading, he is writing. She focuses on the papers before her, and I can tell she is being unapologetically herself- completely comfortable and vulnerable in who she is. She bites her lips and doesn’t hide her furrowed brow showing her confusion over what she is reading. He is furiously filling yellow lined papers. His hand literally never stops moving, yet he constantly looks to her from his bent posture, through lowered lashed. I like to think he’s writing of her, or something about her inspires him to write with the vigour he writes with.
Now she takes a break from her reading, and glances across the table. From her point of view she reads what he is writing, upside- down, and the most genuine smile pulls up the corners of her mouth. Her smile lines display sheer joy, and even more so, pride in the words of his she is reading.
I’ve been sitting in this shop, for roughly four hours, reading. Reading sad stories of human weakness and blindness and selfishness. Nothing like a 16- oz latte with an extra shot of catharsis.
But, I’ve also read stories of redemption, or at least stories that are grasping for redemption, which is maybe what really matters, if hope is still somewhat alive.
This man and this woman have given me a redemptive quality to today. Today has not been bad, necessarily; but I have been rejected on a few different fronts this past week, and I have felt expendable in my most cherished relationships. And I am not one to have an utter lack of hope, but I do admit I have been more dismal, as of late, with these recent situations, and I have once again retreated to my armour of apathy (because nobody can hurt or disappoint you if you choose not to feel those things, right?).
However, this couple, that I do not know nor will ever know, has made me realize what all of this ridiculous hard work is for- the treasure to be found on the other side of heartache: to sit in a coffee shop, absorbed in respective work, comfortable in the silence of each other’s company, a contentment that comes through security and trust. It is really quite that simple.
So maybe I didn’t do any of my homework. But I caught some glimpses of the beauty of life, which honestly, I needed a little bit more than understanding Wesley’s stance on salvation…
P.S. There is also something pretty wonderful about retiring a bookmark (usually a random scrap of paper or advertisement or receipt, for me) with the commencement of a book. That is all.