When he entered the pub he saw it right away.
The table in front of the cozy fireplace was occupied.
In mock seriousness he asked the couple seated
there if they would consider moving to another table,
so he could enjoy the fire for awhile.
He then offered the couple ten dollars to rent the table.
At that, all three of them broke into laughter,
the sound of it trailing him to his table by the window.
While seated there alone looking, by turn, out the window
and at the menu, the woman at the fireplace table walked
over, leaned down and asked him to join them.
Her face close to his, he felt himself completely wrapped
in the warmth of her concern, her simple, quiet gesture
reflecting a whole universe of caring.
Satisfied that he would not be dining alone, she returned
to the fireside but not before he had nodded to her back
in gratitude for that moment’s beauty.
A little later, her partner came by, a big man, gray-haired,
a smile on his face, and shook his hand, No words, the
body language, the touch enough.
Still bathed in the warmth of the encounter with the
fireplace couple, he recalled his 95 year old friend
telling him another story.
The restaurant was called Indigo Moon. She had just
moved to town and the cafe she’d liked was closed,
so she decided to try it.
Not too attractive on the outside, Indigo Moon was
surprisingly pleasant on the inside, the entryway
leading to two nicely-furnished dining rooms
which led, in turn, to a large courtyard, filled now
with a wedding party, music and laughter pouring
out, huge trays of food pouring in.
Liking what she saw and heard, she settled at a
small table nearby complete with a white linen table
cloth and there enjoyed a simple meal.
At one point she’d noticed a young couple seated at
a table across the room. Now the woman crossed
the room to her table,
to ask if she and her friend could join my friend
for coffee and dessert which of course she agreed to.
There followed an engaging hour, over a second cup
of coffee and a third, as she spun out for them her
her 13 years as a Roman Catholic nun, her decision
to leave the cloistered life, her marriage and children
and her life as a hospice nurse.
Can you imagine how gifted the young couple must
have felt, being taken to other times and places
completely outside their world by such a seasoned
woman, bright and articulate?
Can you imagine how my friend must have felt,
acknowledged and listened to, if even for an hour,
by a young and curious couple who weren’t
preoccupied with cell phones and iPads?
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