Nodding Acquaintances

You know that guy you see at the same table every time you go into that coffee shop. Yeah, that guy. You know the one. Do you ache to know what his story is? I do. And it’s been almost ten years now. Always at the same table, with the newspaper. Always a little brusque, but courteous. And he always had a smile for my little girl.

Nodding Acquaintances
March 5, 2009

We nod at one another from across the room,
never-quite, almost, not-any-more acquaintances.
I think I know your name, but I’m not sure.
And you used to know my daughter’s name.
Hardly a first-name basis, but close
enough for a Saturday morning coffee,
shared at separate tables, once a week
like clockwork.

The other regulars weren’t there this morning,
and you did your crossword alone,
no one to argue politics with you today,
the sun full in your eyes at your regular table.

And I’m no longer a regular.
Too many sad memories to be augured
from the dregs of a double-mocha cappuccino.

Neither one of us quite got the world
we wished for. Our ideals sounded good,
but like that slice of Magnificent Seven …
well, chocolate cake for breakfast
is never quite as good as it sounds in your head.