Friday, June 5, 2009

Eavesdropping in Starbucks

So, I'm sitting in Starbucks right now, in my usual corner that always seems to have been left vacant because it was waiting just for me. I have my laptop in front of me, and I have vowed to myself to avoid the internet today, in the interest of getting some real writing accomplished. But, just for a moment, I have to break my vow, because I have to share this. Or, at least, I have to take a minute to write it, since that seems to be my chosen means of processing life.

This tender, quiet man is sitting at the table behind me, talking to a very loud and outspoken woman. The man is older, maybe in his mid-seventies, and he is telling this woman how badly he misses his wife, and how he believes that his newly diagnosed cancer is his gift from God, so that he can go home to Heaven to be with her. The woman is telling him that he mustn't think that way, or he will have no chance of beating the cancer. For the past 45 minutes, she has been doing most of the talking, while I try not to eavesdrop (clearly, I'm not putting forth much of an effort). She is very eloquent and articulate. She has either practiced this speech in front of the mirror or she talks for a living. I've decided that she would make a decent motivational speaker, but a crappy therapist, because she hasn't listened to a single word the man has said.

The guy misses his wife. He is beside himself. She's been gone six months, and he hasn't slept in their bedroom yet because he can't bear the thought of inhabiting it without her, so he's been sleeping on the couch. He doesn't know what to do with himself, because he has never had to be with himself unless she was there to tell him who he was. He was always "Ellen's Jim"... and now he doesn't know how to just be "Jim." They never had children, and now, as an old man, he regrets this.

I haven't turned around to look at the guy, but in my mind he is incredibly lovable and cute, in that sweet, musty-smelling old man way. And I gotta say, this woman is getting on my last nerve. I want to spin around in my chair, shove her scone in her mouth, and take the cute old man home with me. I want to take him to the park and to the mall and bowling and golfing and teach him to play the drums and draw. I want to help him figure out who Jim is without Ellen. But, first, I'd better get a little more writing done.

Anyway... if you think of it, pray for my sweet friend Jim here, who doesn't want to live without Ellen, and pray for his annoying know-it-all friend. And then pray that I can stop eavesdropping long enough to edit a chapter or two.

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