I chose a table tucked away in the corner of the coffee shop, less for its solitude and more on the merits of it being the only unoccupied table in the establishment. As I waited for my name to be called and my drink to materialize, I pulled the hardcover book from my purse. I had dedicated the next hour and a grande peppermint mocha to the first ten chapters of the book, thankful that 35 miles away, my work had closed early due to an impending ice storm.
Earlier in the day, when I looked at the weather map only two counties weren’t colored in purple, and mine was one of them. While the schools around my job were shutting their doors, my children were still in their classes with no chance of an early dismissal. We were only getting rain. So I sat in a coffeeshop, sipping my drink and devouring sentences as fast as my eyes could chase them. The quiet din of the coffeeshop and the occasional opening of the door were the only reminders that I wasn’t actually traversing the countryside of Newport, Rhode Island or searching for the details of an unexplained suicide deep within the safe confines of one of America’s oldest think tanks.
At the end of my hour, I drained the last few cold drops of my coffee and shut my book. It was time to get the kids. I knew they would be disappointed that my mom’s group was cancelled this evening, but I hoped the prospect of a visiting cousin at Grandma’s house would be enough to cheer them up, and it was. We got home with some time to spare before their cousin got picked up and we ended the evening with dinner and a few books.
My quiet solitude at the coffeeshop this afternoon was a godsend, and I reveled in every moment of it, thankful for the stolen hours. I’ll read a few more pages in my book this evening, maybe enough to learn the significance of the forgotten room or the burnt photograph found in the ashes of its fireplace, but the rest will have to wait for tomorrow evening, for I doubt we’ll have time to meet again before then.