I’ve been here twice, and the barista already knows my name. There’s something really nice, about that. Surprisingly, she looks like someone who doesn’t hate her job. She has eyebrows that arch and eyes that pop, in a way that I never learned how to make happen. What do you bet she has sisters? She looks about my age — about 19, only not 19 at all. I have the feeling that if I asked her to have a cup of coffee with me, she’d really think about saying yes.
Unless, you know, baristas don’t like sit in coffee shops, during their time off. I could understand that.
Do you know what else is nice? The way you get to rediscover a place, after you’ve been away for a little while. It turns out there’s sort of a lot to be said, about Maine.
Maine is where my parents live. Have lived, since I graduated from high school. And will no longer live, as of this summer — or at least, not the two of them, together. I suppose it makes more sense than ever to think about Maine as a stopgap, not as a next step, but that’s not exactly what’s been happening.
I think I’m going to need you to tell me to back away from the Venn diagrams. And bring that oatmeal date bar with me.
I think I’m going to need you to tell me that it might be awfully lonely, living out here. I think I’m going to need you to tell me that it’s about 5 years too early for suburbia — for a garden and a breakfast nook and a basket full of still-warm eggs.
But half of me feels like it might be awfully nice, to make a little life next to an ice cream place that closes at 8pm. Next to someone who sells chicken pot pie — but only on Wednesdays.
I know this might not sound appealing to you. Maybe hustle and bustle sounds good to you. Maybe you want the opportunity to make a lot of money; maybe you’d like more than a half a shot of meeting someone. Maybe you’re looking for an endless stream of new, better, best.
How about you go searching for all of those things, and I just come visit you every once in awhile?
I’m looking for different things, I think. I’m looking for a quiet place. A place where things go from smooth to tangled just a little bit more slowly. A place where water ripples.
I’m looking for early mornings and air so clean it’s a shock to breathe. I’m looking for pebbles to skip, for mountains to climb. For libraries with ladders, for running routes with old dirt roads. For enough money to live on — even if it’s just enough. I don’t need piles and piles of it. I mean I wouldn’t say no, if that happened, but living in the lap of luxury isn’t a priority for me anymore. I think I’d just like to be able to afford some sort of a steak, once a week.
What I’d really like is to spend half of my day, every day, writing in a coffee shop. I don’t need a whole ton of them to choose from — just one or two would be fine. They don’t need to have especially great coffee — it’s not about the coffee. I’m just looking for a nice mug, and a chair that hugs. And, you know, maybe a bowl full of maple sugar candy. Another +1 for Portland, ME.
I’d like to be able to swing that, somehow. That kind of life. So maybe I should think about working in the afternoons, maybe applying for the sort of job I might have called menial, a year or two ago. Is it okay, to want to save most of my brain power for writing? I think if I identified as a writer first, and as a whatever-else second, I’d be able to keep my self-esteem from nosediving. And maybe I could find a way to make a graceful exit from The Comparison Game. A permanent exit. Maybe with some more time.
Once I’d written for the day, I’d like to get up and on my feet. It’d be good to get out — to go be around other people. I only have two requirements for those people: they should be kind, and they should love to eat.
As for the rest, I’m not quite sure. I’d certainly like to write another love story, someday. What I’m trying to say — what I’m botching completely — is that you’re it. This is it, for me. I’d be up for fumbling my way through again, I think.
But for now, there’s someone else I’m still getting to know, and I think I’m starting to really like her.