The coffeehouse had been my hub ever since I’d moved downtown;
its dark walls were covered by burlap coffee bags, and, upstairs,
a large reproduction of Robert Doisneau’s kissing couple
stood over an old sofa where younger kids took over.
As long as I had my coffee and my view of Ron, I was content.
Ron was a mystery to me, a smiling man of mystery.
Seated at the corner table by the back door- the more convenient for cigarette breaks –
of the coffeehouse, he drew large pencil drawings on nine-by-fourteen sheets
that he stored in an aluminum briefcase with others, his growing book.
I tried shrinking under my laptop along the north wall,
trying to not stare at him and averting my eyes every time he looked up.
His angled face looked down, absorbed by his work,
but each time he raised his gaze, it seemed to be to find me.
Over months, we gravitated to each other’s tables.
Ron described his project, a comic book, as I watched his tan hands gesture,
noted the dimple in his lean face when he smiled. Unbeknownst to either of us,
our barista, Jack, had anointed us as a perfect couple if we got together.
“Melron,” another of the baristas calls out when he sees us enter.
It’s still our hub, though now we sit at the same table,
as we chat with others who have made the coffeehouse a part of their day,
a place to reconnect with each other over a cup of coffee.