The Boy In the Coffee Shop
It was typical New York City weather outside. Kind-of cloudy with some sun streaming through the clouds and a cool crisp autumn breeze. I stuffed my hands into the pockets of my red parka and listened to the leaves crinkle beneath my feet as I walked.
Washington Square isn't even a mile from my family's apartment just outside of Greenwich Village. Almost everyday after school I went down to Java Jen's, a coffee shop right near Washington Square and across the street from NYU, for an expresso.
I loved just sitting there in the red vinyl booths sipping coffee, watching the people, and reading The New York Times. I was always an observer, who just liked to sit there and watch. A lot of the times I'd make up stories about the people sitting around me.
The bells attached to the door rang as I entered. I always hated opening the door because those dumb bells would jingle and everyone would turn around to look at you. I never liked standing out in a crowd. I went to the counter and told them I wanted my usual, which everyone working at the counter knew was an expresso. We exchanged change and I slid into an open booth near the window.
I looked around. I saw a couple at a table near the center of the restaurant. They looked as if they were involved in intimate conversation. Maybe they were going to elope and move to Boca where they'd have three daughters. The oldest would be smart and savvy, the middle would be a rebellion that would lead a life full of crime, and the youngest would move to Wales and marry the next prince.
Just to the left of them there was a young woman sitting all by herself. She had a guitar case near her chair. She was a runaway looking to find a career in music singing about peace and love. She looked kind of hippieish so I decide her parents her parents were looking to find the next Siddartha and danced around bonfires singing songs by the Beatles.
I was just about to find someone else I could makeup a story about when a tall boy with curly rust colored hair and amazing dimples walked over to my table.
"Can I sit here?" he asked. "It's rude to take up a whole four person booth when people can't even sit."
I gestured towards the other end of the booth. "If it's so rude then why don't you sit down."
He sat and extended his hand towards me. "My name is Michael."
I linked my hand with his. "Jocelyn. But everyone calls me Joss."
He took a sip of his coffee. "So how old are you? Eighteen, give or take a little."
"More like fourteen," I replied opening up the Times.
He gave a low whistle. "I wouldn't have guessed that if I saw you on the street."
"And I'm guessing you're about eighteen give or take a little."
"Good guess." He pointed out the window and across the street. "I go to NYU. I'm studying film, right now. Every Saturday I come here you seem to be here sitting in a booth all alone. I thought maybe you'd like some company. Of course when I first thought of that idea I thought you were around eighteen."
"Too bad for you," I answered gulping down the last of my coffee.
"So what do you do here anyway?" Michael asked. "You always seem to be staring at someone."
"I just like to sit here and watch the people. I make up stories about them."
"Stories, huh?" he questioned. "What kind of stories?"
I nodded my head towards the girl with the guitar case. "She's a runaway looking to find a career in music. She ran away because her parents are really weird hippies who are looking for the next Siddartha. They like to dance around bonfires and sing songs by the Beatles at the same time."
He laughed. "So you just sit here and making up stories about these people?"
"Yeah. I've always liked to watch things. Up until the time I was twelve my family and I lived in upstate New York. They used to have this airport there actually it was just a field where small planes took off. Anyway I used to sometimes go and lie down in the field at night and watch the planes take off. They were so beautiful in the night with their flickering lights soaring up high. The lights looked like little lighting bugs. I could have sat there and watched those planes for hours."
"You just sat there? You didn't do anything?" Michael asked.
"I thought. I thought about how maybe someday I would like to be one of the pilots way up there. I always told my parents if they every got me a plane I'd name it Lighting Bug," I answered.
"The world could use more people like you," he said softly.
"How come?" I questioned.
"Because you just like to sit there and think. You enjoy the simple things in life. That's important you know."
"Is it really?" I asked.
"I think so."
At that moment he got up gulped down the last of his coffee and threw the Styrofoam cup into the wastebasket. Then just as soon as the boy in the coffee shop had entered my life he slid out of it. Just like those planes with the lighting bug wings flying in and out of my mind.
Heather Greene is the webmaster and co-editor to Kid Ink. She is thirteen-years-old. This story will be published in a book anthology called, "The Sky's the Limit" in the fall.