It has been exactly seven days since my heart broke just a little.
Out of these past seven days, I have been trying to fill my head and heart up with just about everything that makes me happy on my own. Tonight, I ventured to one of my favorite cafés tucked neatly between small boutiques of a tree-lined street.
This particular café has many things that make all of my five senses the happiest. For one, it has a display case filled with French macarons, a lavender fondant covered cake, perfect square pastries and cupcakes doused in pounds of frosting. My favorite part next to all those to die for treats would be the outside patio. It’s like a magical maze with bricks, strings of lights, flowers, candles and whimsical vibes. Every time I am there, I imagine myself at a small café somewhere in Europe where no one knows me.
Tonight I planned on relaxing, enjoying a nice meal and writing at my favorite table. I placed my number “32” sign on it and headed to the bathroom. When I returned, someone had moved my number to a nearby table, placed their coffee, keys and book about politics on the table and left. For a second, I stood in bitch mode waiting for this person to come back. I was already preparing the lines in my head of disgust and anger in which I planned on rolling off my tongue the seconds they sat down. “Hi, just so you know I was sitting here until you took it upon yourself to move my number,” or “I find it kind of rude you knew someone was sitting here yet you put all your stuff here.” Before they could come back from wherever the heck they had gone, I swapped out their things and sat down at my original and favorite table.
About a minute later, an older man started profusely apologizing as he walked toward me. He felt so bad that he had moved my number and said it was because he thought someone had left it behind from a previous order. I was pretty short with him, so when he sat down at the table in front of me with his back towards me, I felt like a complete bitch for getting so angry over something so small. I noticed that this man had a lot more in common with me than I thought. He was alone like me, apologetic like me, and most of all there was that same sadness in his eyes that I felt like I was carrying with me all week.
I wanted to do something for this stranger whom I knew nothing about other than that I made him feel like crap. I needed to say “Sorry”. I sat there and wondered what pastry out of that display case I could buy for him so that he would be able to indulge and end his day on a high note. A bunch of random questions popped in my mind. Is he hungry? What if he isn’t a sweets type of guy? Oh no! What if he is allergic to nuts? What if he is actually a diabetic and can’t have eight pounds of layered sugar? I decided to go ahead and pick him out a slice of chocolate chip cheesecake. It’s the least I could do for treating a stranger so unkind just because I happened to be having a bad week.
I ran outside with the slice in hopes that the man was still sitting down and reading a book. When I got back to the table I just left, the man was sitting at MY table. I realized that the table was his favorite table as well and it’s what made him happy. He quickly started to move his things back to the other table. I told him it was ok and that I was heading out. I placed the cake down. “I hope you like cheesecake,” I said.
He was in awe and asked me my name. He told me his name was Herman.
“Are you sure you didn’t mean to buy this for someone else? You must be mistaken,” he said.
I reassured him that it was simply an apology from me for moving all his things to another table as he did mine. What I did earlier was intentional and what he did was not. Herman looked me in the eye and said, “Catherine, something wonderful is going to happen to you, I just know it.” Little did Herman know that seeing him smile and being so grateful was that something wonderful.