The man with the moon tattoo was thinking. He often did that at precisely nine A.M. in precisely the same spot in the same coffee shop in the same seat. In fact the man with the moon tattoo never changed. His life was a perpetual mix of sameness- the only change in which came from the people around him. Every morning he watched them enter the shop, which he didn't know the name of, and walk or sway or skip up to the counter. He recognized some, in fact he recognized most. They too were always in the shop at 9 AM. Over in the other corner on the stool sat the man with the cane- the same man who always sat. He was tired today, rubbing at his eyes and yawning as he gently sipped at the paper cup with his name spelled incorrectly on the side. Miguel it read. His name was Michael, a sthe man with the moon tattoo knew from his insatiable eavesdropping of Michael's phone conversations. Michael was a writer and he didn't get along with his "unbelievably irksome!" editor. And there was the bearded young lad in his construction vest- his nose propped in a book as he waited for his shift to start. A Tale of Two Cities. The moon-man hadn't read the book of course- that would be too much of a change- but he recognized its merit by how the lad's cappuccino sat neglected in front of him despite the steam wafting toward his nose. There by the counter was the working mother Theresa, and over there teacher Diane. And just coming through the door with the sound of the bell was young Billy who didn't drink coffee. He always got a bagel. Lightly toasted.
The man with the moon tattoo watched them with ritualistic perplexity. Why do they not say hello? They were all certainly acquaintances. After all, it was the 112th time they had simultaneously been but a few feet apart. But the eyes! The man with the moon tattoo watched them all with his black eyes while they stared shiftlessly around with their colorful eyes- browns and blues and greens. Cane-man stared with abandon at his coffee, construction dude at the book, mom at her phone, Billy at the clock, Diane at nothing. Nothing! Thought the man incredulously. He wanted to yell at them, as he always did, but of course he couldn't. It wasn't routine. So he sat and he thought in the seat in the coffee shop at precisely 905 AM. They left- all except for the man with the cane- and more free-people came. Someone waved. Recognition! He felt a warm feeling in his heart at this warming contact of thoughts between two individuals, neither of which had been him.
For his entire life the man with the moon tattoo had watched the people of the nameless coffee shop. The handsome college boy behind the counter had a crush on the beautiful college girl behind the counter. But they never really talked. The girl's colorful eyes were always busy. Customer to phone to clock. Sometimes to him. A brief smile shared for College Boy.
He had once heard a man in the shop exclaim that his job was the most frustrating thing in the world. The man with the moon tattoo disagreed. Whatever this man's job may be- he wasn't a regular- it was not nearly as frustrating as the moon man's existence. You see, the moon man saw always the connections between people. Possibilities of friendship, of shared memories, of connected lives that were as powerful as a raging forest fire- and that burned as much as well.
This was the curse of the man with the moon tattoo. He could understand and he could see, but he could never change. From his stool on the wall of the coffee shop the man with the moon tattoo contemplated this. And he wished someone would paint over him.