Joel, who will henceforth be called Parker, comes into the coffeehouse and looks at me and says, “Surprise me.”

“Caffeine or no caffeine?” I ask, leaning into the counter. Oh those green eyes.

“Doesn’t matter.”

“Do you like chocolate?”



“Good point, yes.” His smile is big and boyish, just on the edge of mischief.

“Ok, I got it,” I pause dramatically, extending our play. “Soy chocolate chai tea latte.”

Parker smiles, then says, “Yes,” by which I think he means yes, he approves of the drink, until he adds, “I’ll go to the Core Show with you.” Then he turns from the counter and walks back toward the tables to set up his laptop. “Soy. That’s good; you caught that. Very good.”

And it’s not that I see everything spiraling away in front of me and envision myself chasing after it. It’s not that I know even precisely what I want, at this point. But it is enough that he called this week and was interesting, polite, and charming. It is enough that we stay late talking again. And that he helps me spot mop the floor at closing time. And furthermore that he asks what I do when I want to waste time, which he then clarifies and says, “ I mean, what do you do when you’re spontaneous?” (to which I answer, “I sing.”) It is enough, I suppose, so that when all is said and done and I have to turn out the lights and lock the coffeehouse doors, we step outside and I say spontaneously, “God, what a beautiful view,” to which he leans in jokingly, as if to block it, and somehow my hand is around his waist. It is enough, just for a few seconds, to hold that, before I pull away, surprised at my own move. It is enough to think to myself, Well, a date for dinner and the Core Show this Friday night. How about that!

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