begin again

I brushed aside a sigh and strode over to the man bent over his coffee, pasting on a smile like a good waitress. The man was softly stroking his mug. He seemed a normal man, at first glance. Tall, thin, not especially handsome with rather colorless dark hair. But at a second glance, when he looked up at me, I was almost taken aback by his eyes. Intensely blue eyes, they were. And intensely sad. He looked as if he had no hope in the world.

I almost asked what was wrong but bit my lip. He didn't look so very sad, I convinced myself. That was just his appearance. So I conjured up a brisk tone of voice and asked him if he might like more coffee.

"No, ma'am," he replied, his Adam's apple bobbing. He stared at me a moment, and I honestly could not take my gaze from his eyes. They were fascinating.

"Well, then," I said after a moment. "Can I get you anything else? Pie, maybe, or a cinnamon roll?"

"No," he said. "No, I am not hungry."

Well. That was that. "I'll be at the counter if you need anything," I said, pivoting and sitting down behind the counter. The shop was uncomfortably quiet and empty, excepting his uneasy presence. I pulled out my phone and began to browse.

There was a long silence of ten minutes. I swear the man didn't move a finger during the entire time, despite the fact that an open journal and ready pen were sitting just inches from his fingertips. His dejection almost frightened me.

"You know what the problem is," I heard the man suddenly say in a gravelly voice. "People act like they don't care anymore because they're afraid of getting hurt."

I didn't know what to say. I stared at him. His sad blue eyes watered up as he went on. "From the time that they are babes, children are supposedly taught to speak their minds. Home is supposed to be a ... safe haven. But the world ... it isn't like that. Sin leaks into homes anyway. So innocent babes are trampled for their opinions and for their interests and their talents -- or perhaps lack thereof -- and they learn to shut their mouth and their hearts to things or, primarily, people who might turn around and stab them in the back for who they are and what they believe." He paused for breath, and I noticed his back was heaving as if he had just greatly exerted himself.

"Don't strain yourself," I muttered under my breath, ashamed because that's the only thing I could think of to say. When did I become so sullen and ... unvulnerable?

The man bit his lip, and I realized he had heard my remark. He gave me a crisp nod and said regretfully, "I sorta thought you might be different."

I sucked in my breath. I wanted to say something. Desperately. I wanted to ... pour out the misunderstanding and hope that had been raging in my mind for three years. But coherency had been lost in the muddle and I didn't know how. So instead I said, "Let me get you some pie."

I ran into the kitchen, accidentally cutting a too-large piece and slapping it onto a plate. Then I brought it out to him and slid it onto his table. He had picked up his journal again and was scribbling like mad. His intense blue eyes roved the blank pages, as if he was searching for something that couldn't be found. He looked up at me again, realizing I was watching him. "What's your name?" he asked me, running his fingers along his pen. "What's your story?"

I opened my mouth and realized I had choked. Then my eyes watered up, and he gently pulled out a chair. "Shall we talk?" he said.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"Jeremiah Frost," he said. "I'm a ..." He hesitated before saying in a whisper, "I'm a writer."

(This piece of flash fiction is tied into another piece of flash fiction 
I wrote awhile back entitled WINTERAnd the man with the sad blue eyes 
was inspired by a stranger I met at a cafe on April the first.)


  1. This was beautifully gripping. It's a story like this that leaves you thinking about it a long time after you've read it. You are really talented, Emily!

    1. Oh my goodness! Thank you so much, Elizabeth. :)

  2. I agree with Elizabeth ... this was so beautifully gripping!! Wonderful job, Em!! I love your writing!!

  3. This is lovely, Emily! I love it - very gripping and poignant. Well done!

    Keep writing, dear girl! Miss chatting with you ^_^.

    Many blessings,

    P.S. I just nominated you on my blog for the Liebster Award tag :).

    1. Thank you so much, Joy! :) For the nomination and your sweet compliment.