All it Takes is One Cup of Coffee

August 18, 2008
By Michelle Cipollone, Corvallis, OR

Mark Stevenson shifted sleepily in the plushy armchair. The aroma of black coffee wafted from the mug he clutched in his left hand. Still groggy, he raised the steaming mug to his lips and took a deep draught. He took another sip, willing the caffeine to flow quickly through his veins. Through his coffee induced reverie, the morning bustle of the Starbucks began to intrude. Finally, Mark opened his eyes fully, feeling refreshed. The caffeine was finally kicking in. Glancing around the crowded bistro, he noticed a petite blonde woman sitting quietly at a table by the window. The woman reclined gently against the back of her chair, reading a book in her lap and sipping on a Tazo tea. A smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she read. He observed her for a while before heat flooded his cheeks and he realized he was being impolite. Mentally chastising himself, he turned back around in his seat and jerked the coffee cup to his lips. Finishing the last few drops of his morning elixir, he stood and walked towards the door. Cursing himself, he realized that he would have to pass right by the woman who had kept him so enraptured earlier. As he strode past her table, his feet slowed without his permission. The woman looked up at him, curious as to why he had stopped near her table. Nervously, he turned towards her and muttered a quiet

She looked at him, still skeptical of this man whom she didn’t recognize. “Excuse me, but do I know you?” She said.
He replied, “No, but I couldn’t help noticing that you were sitting here all by yourself. Do you mind if I join you?”
She moved her head up and down. “Yes, I do mind, although I do appreciate the offer.” Turning away from him, she returned her attention to the book lying in her lap. Feeling rejected, he retreated to the door. Placing his hands on the handle and turning it, the sound he had longed to hear reached his ears.

“Wait.” The beautiful woman said. “Come back.”
Realizing that his quest to talk to the woman was not totally hopeless, he covered the ground between them in three long strides. Pulling out the chair across from her, he sat quickly down at the table.
“What made you change your mind?” He asked.
“I’m not quite sure.” She replied, “But I’m hoping I made the right decision.”

Mark and the woman began to converse, eager to discover more about the other person. Soon, they were strangers no longer. Judith, it turned out, was a student at the nearby university and was studying Literature. Her passion for reading led her to the Starbucks every day at lunch time, where she could relax and enjoy a good book. Mark and Judith talked continuously until it was time for her next class. They parted ways, promising to keep in touch. Judith put her book down on the table, said goodbye to Mark, and walked out the door. Mark watched her as she walked down the street until she disappeared out of sight. Looking down, he realized that she had left her book. He snatched it off the table and began to sprint after her, but by then it was too late.

She was gone.

Stopping to catch his breath, he sat down on a nearby bench and studied the book he held in his hands. It was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. He opened the cover, and saw that inside, something had been written.

I really enjoyed talking with you Mark. Please read the book if you have time. It’s one of my favorites. I wrote my number in the back. Call me when you’ve finished it.


Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!