A portrait of a woman in a cafe

She stared into her mug of coffee, watching the reflected lights of the cafe dancing on its surface. The mug was warm and smooth in her hands. She drank slowly, transfixed between sips by the patterns the cream made as it coagulated on the top.

It wasn’t quiet in the cafe, but no one was calling her name. People’s voices blended and mumbled around her. Someone was banging utensils in the kitchen. A dinging bell alerted a waitress that someone’s meal was ready. A man asked for a box to go. It wasn’t exactly peaceful, but rest comes when you can steal it.

She held onto the mug of just okay coffee like a family heirloom. The weight and shape of the mug were comforting in the way a paper cup never is. She lingered. To drink it all and set the mug down would sever her moment of rest.

She closed her eyes with each sip. It wasn’t hot anymore but she didn’t care. Cold coffee was nothing new. Each time a cup was set before her lately, it was this same ritual. Drink it slow. Hold it close. Hope the time and space will stretch out around her until she’s regained composure. Drink it even when it gets cold.

She’s not unique. Just a woman in a cafe hoping the check will never come. Imagining what it would be like to curl up under the table for a nap, lulled to slumber by the white noise of the cafe.

She can be found in any cafe, in any country in the world. She’s you, she’s me. She’s tired but she’s brave. She doesn’t really want a tropical vacation or a visit to the spa. She just wants to sit in silence and drink this cup of coffee. Just for a moment.