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Instead of shopping on Black Friday, I found myself in a nearly empty Starbucks. The aroma of coffee, coupled with Christmas music, usually induces inspiration for my writing. It didn’t seem to work this time. My brain wasn’t functioning any quicker.
The barista who served my drink worked nearby, giving me her attention while she cleaned. We just met. I had endured an hour of writer’s block, trying figure out how best to tell a story about myself. In hopes of finding aid, I asked her to help me.
“I’m not sure if I should write something big or just something small that shows my character,” I said. “It’s tough because there’s no moment that really ‘demonstrates my character.’”
She laughed. “I had this same problem back when I was applying. They really don’t care, just as long as it’s well written and says something about you. Wanna hear what I did?”
What I thought would be a simple explanation grew into a lengthy exchange of stories.
Her name is Kelly, a student at Bellevue College. I listened to a story about her mother’s tiger instincts, what she wished she had done in high school, and about the differences of students at community college from universities.
Though she didn’t quite help me with my essay as I wanted, it was enjoyable discussing her experiences. The conversation was refreshing and new. I listened to her short narrative, asking questions about her college life. Time passed and stories were exchanged. Despite the fact we had just met, it was conversation as if we were friends. I talked about my rush for college applications; Kelly about disappointment in community college. The two of us discussed various ways people could avoid crushing college debt and still have a memorable college experience. We talked of family and support they give. Black Friday was a strong subject with the craze finally subsiding.
I enjoy conversations such as these because in their simplicity and honesty, I learn about the world through the eyes of another. It is my belief that interacting with others creates a multifaceted view of life. Talks of republican Iowa caucus and disruption in Libya are in the media, but it’s the small stories that are never heard. Her story isn’t breaking news. It’s human in a way that I can relate to and that makes it enjoyable.
A short time passed before we bid farewell to each other. The two of us had just met, yet we left as friends on a cold November night.
I walked to my car in the light rain, content. I may not have written an essay, but I met a wonderful person I will probably never see again. Our stories crossed for a second. I’ll never know the end of her path, but I’ll always remember an evening of conversation over a cup of coffee. And so I listened to her story, and in turn she gave me another view in which to see the world through. A quiet conversationalist; that’s who I am.





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