BY SARA PALMER
Story inspired by the suggestion of Loquacious
The Mug is a coffee shop on the edge of a small coastal town. The shop was once a house belonging to a family of four in the early 1950s.
It was a small house with wooden floors that creaked and had withered a bit, creating small waves that seemed to rise and fall as you walked throughout. There was one restroom located down a narrow hallway with the original tile.
Mrs. Shelter, the owner of the shop, had designed the interior herself, polishing up and restoring where she could. She had a knack for design, but never pursued it. She had always dreamed of owning her own business and busied herself with this quest. This Wednesday afternoon, she was particularly busy making drinks, due to some part-time help not making it in to work. The tables were filled and there was a chattering buzz that filled the shop.
Two girls sit in the far left corner at a round wooden table with one blue chair and one orange chair.
They had decided to meet after a couple of long phone calls earlier in the week. The conversation was nervous, flirtatious and giddy at times.
They sat and talked for a couple of hours before going their own way, and planning to meet again soon. The girls would end up dating for about eight months before calling it quits and moving on. While dating, they frequented the coffee shop ritually.
Mrs. Shelter came to know their names and drinks, and if unoccupied, they usually sat at the same wooden table with the colored chairs where they had first met. Since their split two years ago, neither one has visited the shop.
Near the front door, sit two sisters. The conversation is one of sadness and despair.
Four days ago, the older sister’s husband had been diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis seemed grim and the younger sister’s heart sank for sibling. They hugged and cried, the younger sister comforting her sibling as much as she could.
It was strange and hard to see her sister this way, after all, she had always been the one with all the answers growing up-she had been the strong one. That night, the younger sister would go home to her new wife, hug her tight while silently praying for her health.
On the couch in the corner sits Shelby, a regular at the shop, with her 14-ounce Americano and her copy of “Telegraph Avenue” by Michael Chabon. Three years ago, she came home to an empty apartment and a note from her girlfriend, saying little more than good-bye. She moved away, and they never spoke again. They used to come to the shop together.
Shelby always wished the note had said more, there is a part of her that still waits for the girl to walk back through the door of the shop. Two weeks from now a girl will walk through the door, see Shelby sitting on the couch and ask her about her book. They will talk for three hours and eventually marry.
Sara Palmer is a an improviser/writer/storyteller based in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Share your ideas for her next blog in the comments below.