by Rita Bourland
I’m down on my knees,
I’m sorry you caught me for sure.
I wish I could quit,
I’d like to repent;
I’m certain there isn’t a cure.
Dan frequented The Perfect Blend Coffee Shop almost daily. Located on High Street, it was positioned right across the street from Ohio State where Dan was studying architecture. He didn’t run across a lot of poetry, unless you counted the poetry he saw in a perfectly designed building.
The next day he decided to, once again, grab the window seat at the Blend and flip through the paper lying on the table. He smiled as his reward appeared. A photo of a smiling politician making promises about health-care reform was graced with biting prose:
His teeth, oh so white,
The question remains
Does he feel our plight?
And so the pattern continued, with one exception - Dan started rising a little earlier each day in the hope of finding his poet. He was almost always rewarded with a poem but never with the object of his growing desire. He started tearing out the poems each day and tucking them in his jeans pocket.
The Perfect Blend opened at 6:00 a.m. and usually had a few customers waiting for the doors to open. On May 15th, Dan was the first in line. He and several of his classmates hadn’t slept while putting the finishing touches on their final presentations for the semester. He needed a jolt of coffee to get him through the rest of his morning. He settled into a booth and leaned back, resting his head and closing his eyes. The aroma of coffee and the bustle of the shop were soothing to his senses. When he opened his eyes, he glanced around the room at the early morning customers. And then he looked at the table by the window. A young woman wearing jeans, a Dave Matthews Band t-shirt and a funky frilly scarf was bent over the paper with a silver pen clutched in her left hand.
It was Susan all along.
He picked up his mug, walked over to the table and said, “Hey Susan, can I join you?”
Susan smiled and greeted him with a tired but friendly, “Hi, There.” She put her pen down on the paper, looked at him again and said, “What a long night.”
Dan wasn’t thinking about his presentation anymore. It was Susan all along, he thought. She had been hunched over a table in the architecture building for two years, just like him, and they’d never gotten to know each other. He said, “So, what are you writing?”
She smiled shyly and said, “It’s just some silly poetry. I’m sure nobody reads it.”