“Bye, beautiful,” he says with a grin, as he leaves the coffee shop. I’m sure I blush a mortifying shade of red in surprise.
On his first trip in, loaded down with a cart full of dairy products, I looked up from my computer and he was ready with the biggest smile—just genuine and open. My smile in return was a reflex—it was impossible not to reciprocate.
On his second trip in, he initiated a quick conversation about the weather—hot outside, so nice and cool inside, yada yada yada. Warm, sincere eye contact. Positive energy. Nice guy, I thought, as I went back to my writing.
He reminded me a little bit of Tim Robbins, maybe ten years younger than he is now. So old enough that it didn’t register that he might be hitting on me—I just thought he was being friendly. (Although in all honesty, I am not always the best at reading these kinds of signals. . .)
He chatted with the two male baristas behind the counter as he unloaded the order. Easy going, clear that they have this interaction on a regular basis.
After his final exit with his, “Bye, beautiful,” I was left with the strangest feeling. Not because there was anything romantic about the interaction—I don’t think that was his intent (and I know it wasn’t mine). I think it was the unfamiliarity of being out writing in coffee shops again after such a long hiatus (so awesome) combined with the rush that comes from interacting with new people—again, it’s been a long time.
I’m out of practice, for sure, but man—it did feel good to be out in public where it’s possible to interact in human ways with others. It’s been a year and a half of avoiding and being afraid of other people(‘s germs), and I’m ready to dust off my social skills and step cautiously out into the world.