This morning at the coffee shop your upper back aches, along with your right shoulder. Your left thumb hurts too, but not so much. The chairs at this coffee shop don’t do much in the department of supporting backs. Then again, you suppose the owners never expected people to spend all their days at the coffee shop.
People like yourself. There are others like you – a few others. You often find yourself with these others at the table in the back of the coffee shop. You nod to each other and then go about your business. Programing or making calls or writing in WordPress.
You go to the coffee shop every day because you need to get out of your apartment. You live alone in a one bedroom that’s empty except for the television, to which is connected an original Nintendo. You haven’t played that Nintendo in years, but you brought it to college and then to Philadelphia and now to Denver.
“Live” is a peculiar word, at least for you, like the word “home.” The scale has tipped so that you now spend more time at the coffee shop than you do at your apartment. In a sense, you “live” at the coffee shop.
This almost changed once, when for three days in a row you sat across from this young woman with red hair and blue-framed glasses. You nodded to each other on the first day then got to work. The second day you talked with each other for two hours. The third day you fucked.
The morning after you joked about fucking at the coffee shop. She laughed then said she was glad you came over. She lived on the other side of town and she drove a beat up forerunner. It was a gift from her father, she said. Otherwise she wouldn’t have a car.
You said in that case, she was meant to find you. Without the car, she would have stayed closer to her studio and not have explored the rest of town.
She smiled and then told you she would no longer be visiting the coffee shop. She just moved from Seattle and had some time off before her job started. She took a software engineer position at a start-up and would be working long hours.
That was fine, you said, because you had a plan. You could see each other after work. You both could trade off making dinner, one night at her place and one night at yours. For that moment, the thought of being in your apartment didn’t seem so bad. And if you happened to spend the night at her place, you could take the bus back to the coffee shop. You knew it would work. She said it would work too.
Nevertheless, you haven’t seen her in months. You stopped texting her to make dinner plans or grab a drink at a happy hour because she stopped responding. Your body aches because you fell asleep yesterday at the coffee shop. It was only six – closing time – but you fell asleep anyways. You find it harder to sleep at your apartment and you’re afraid you’ll fall asleep at the coffee shop again. You assured the barista it wouldn’t happen again but you’re still unsure.
But that doesn’t matter at the moment – someone’s walking to the back table, and you’re ready to nod and treat them like a guest.