Issue January 23, 2012

Literary LEO 2012

Something Different — Second

Coffee Shop Full of People Backlit Against the Whitewashed Day

BY JEAN TUCKER

Someone loves the broad-backed woman in black cardigan, red turtleneck and little bowler hat with a turned-up rim. Someone loves the way her strong jaws pooch out as she chews the crust of still-oven-warm bread. Loves her in the morning in her red velour bathrobe as she cracks eggs into the pan. And in summer as she lifts a crying toddler in her bare arms, grainy now with sand from his grubby fists.

Someone loves the man in the baseball cap who is staring into the parking lot. Someone loves the way his hair sticks out a little over his collar because he needs a haircut. It could be the girl sitting across from him, her feet in western boots almost touching his. And someone loves her tangled, half-blond pony tail and little double chin.

Someone loves the skinny girl with long dark hair, spine straight as a dancer’s as she picks up her tray without spilling a drop from the plastic tumbler where she and her friends have emptied the dregs of their coffee.

Someone loves the man with the unwaxed pompadour who blows his nose into the brown paper napkin before dipping his spoon into the soup bowl.

Someone even loves the mustard-yellow subcompact Chevy sedan with rear spoiler. Maybe it is the man in the baseball cap.