Finding Warmth In Coffee

April 9, 2008
By Patrick Schlafer, Uniontown, OH

With the cool sea breeze running through his thin grey hair, John Arthur stands on the North Shore Pier thinking of me. As his eyes, little skies of blue, swell up with tears, he puts his right hand in his pocket and clutches my locket, silver and heart shaped. Inside is a picture of us from when we were just dating. Before we had gotten married, before he got a job out west, before we had our three sons, before I died.

Smiling and almost laughing, John stands there, thinking of the first time we met. We were only sixteen, it seems so long ago to him, sitting in the green colored booth next to the door at our local coffee shop I looked over at him. We had talked a little before at school so I gave him a friendly smile and wave, and before I knew what was happening he was sitting in the booth next to me. John grins as he thinks of this, how smooth he was with the ladies, he sat down and asked me to go steady with him and who was I to say no. That was that, we spent the next fifty six years together.

The tears began to come back as he sees the frame of my body, pale and lifeless, hanging over the arm of the chair. The cold touch of emptiness as the back of his hand grazed my left cheek. Standing there thinking of this moment he breaks down. The people passing by on the pier gaze over at him as he weeps longingly for me.

Emotions racing John takes my locket out of his pocket, not knowing how he is ever going to over come this suppressing memory of me, he dangles the locket over the edge of the weathered wood railing looking like he is going drop it in the water. Drop all memories, good and bad with it. That way there would be no pain, life could go on, and maybe he would find someone new. As he loosens his grip the chain slides through his hand and with all of his force he closes tightly. Holding on to the locket, holding on to the memories of the life we shared and thinking to himself why he would ever want to let go of them. This is just part of life, everyone is going to die, and when the time comes for John to leave this world he hopes that he is not forgotten by the ones he has loved.

So John takes a few steps back from the railing, puts my locket back into his pocket and turns to look down the pier. He notices a coffee shop at the end of the pier. Walking slowly, John starts down the pier, opens the door to the coffee shop and walks in. Looking around he finds a seat next to the door. Looking at the empty seat across the table from him he sees me. Not the cold lifeless image of me, but me. Sipping on a cup of hot black coffee he savors this image and leaves knowing that I will always be there.

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