He walked into my life on a cold winter day. His coat was covered in snow and his nose was red from the cold. He paused just outside the coffee shop and brushed some of the snow of this coat before opening the door and walking inside.
The tinkling bell broke me away from my staring and I went back to pouring coffee into a cup. I handed it over to the woman who was waiting for it and thanked her for the money. I watched her walk out of the shop, hearing the bell tinkle as the door opened.
I looked back at the man who was scanning the menu quickly; he put it down and turned towards me. His eyes were the most striking blue and I found myself instantly frozen under his gaze. I blinked once he started talking.
"Can I have a coffee and an apple and cinnamon scroll please?" His voice was deep and sounded a little strained from being out in the cold.
I smiled and poured him coffee before getting a cinnamon scroll and putting it on a plate. "Anything else sir?" I asked brightly. He shook his head. "Ok, that's $5.60"
He handed me the money and made his way over to one of the tables in the corner. I watched him break his bun into pieces and dip them into his coffee before eating them.
I served other customers while watching him out of my eye. There was something different about him- a slowness in his actions and the way his bright blue eyes seemed to be slightly unfocused that drew me to him.
He sat at the table for the next 2 hours. At 6:00 I began cleaning the tables and packing up. He was still sitting at the table when I'd finished cleaning and was about to lock up. I walked up to him, watching him staring at his empty coffee cup. "Would you like anything else?" I said softly. I felt like if I spoke too loudly I'd break him.
He lifted his eyes slowly to my own and shook his head. He got up just as slowly, thanked me and walked out the door. I heard the bell tinkling as he opened and closed the door. I realized suddenly why I felt a connection to him- his heart was broken, just like mine.
The next day he walked into the shop in the morning and ordered the same thing. He sat in the same table and ate quickly this time. He left just as quickly as well.
He repeated the routine every day for a few weeks, and it was the highlight of my day seeing him in my little coffee house. After the first few days I'd already have his bun and coffee ready for him when he came and I'd hand it to him even before he ordered. He'd smile and hand me the money before making his way to his table.
It was a Thursday 3 weeks from when I first saw him that he spoke to me. He thanked me for the coffee and bun and then started making his way to his table. I saw him hesitate a little before walking back to me and sitting on a bench next to the counter top. He smiled at me, the kind of smile that made my heart flutter. "So, I've seen you every day for about 3 weeks now and I don't even know your name."
I smile back at him pouring coffee for someone and handing it across the counter to them. "I'm Sarah."
After that day he'd sit at the counter and talk to me while I served customers. He'd leave after about half an hour. I learned that he worked at an architecture firm across the street.
"The first day you came into this store you seemed kind of out of it." I said after about a week of our little chats. I needed to know if I was right. "Was something wrong?"
He shrugged, staring at his coffee for a few second. "No, I'm fine. I'm always fine." He gave a small smile and changed the subject quickly.
The next day he spoke first; he'd finished his bun and was sipping his coffee slowly. I was leaning on the other side of the counter watching the door in case any new costumers came in.
"Have you ever had your heart broken?" He asked slowly, glancing up at me.
I paused, frowning a little. "Yes."
"I-" I stopped and shook my head a little "I don't know." I finished quickly and picked up the kitchen towel rubbing at a smudge on the counter top.
He nodded absently for a few seconds, "My girlfriend broke up with me." He said suddenly. He looked away closed his eyes shut for a second. "She… was almost perfect." He looked back at me, his blue eyes searching mine; he smiled sadly before shrugging again. "But it's the way life goes right?"
I shook my head, breaking away from his eyes. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault." He answered automatically. We sat in silence for a minute.
"I was engaged to a guy named Andrew. I broke it off with him, about a week before I first met you." I said quickly before I could take it back.
He looked back at me. "Why?"
I shook my head, "I- I don't know." I did know, I'd asked myself that question a hundred times before. He raised an eyebrow at me and I sighed "I was scared." I added and then paused thoughtfully. "Guess I broke my own heart." I admitted quietly.
He nodded slowly and then spoke again. "I used to have a motto in life." I tilted my head curiously while he continued. "You have to make your own happiness."
I smiled. "Wise words."
He laughed, shaking his head. "It's not true. You can't make your own happiness." He leaned in closer to me. "You have to rely on people to make it for you."
I frowned. "That's not true." I said slowly.
"No?" He asked, not really expecting an answer.
I shook my head. "No."
I had a normal week until Wednesday lunchtime when a girl walked into my coffee shop, she seemed to be looking for someone and when she couldn't find them she ordered a coffee and sat in the same table that David had sat in the first day I saw him. She seemed distressed and lost. I kept an eye on her as I served other people coffee. I heard a crash come from her direction a second later and saw her with a napkin in her hand trying to wipe up the coffee she had spilt. The mug was broken on the floor.
I got a couple of rags and went over to her, kneeling next to her and wiping the floor. She shook her head reaching for the rags "I'll do it, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to."
I pushed her hand away gently and continued cleaning the floor. "Do you want to get yourself another cup of coffee?"
She stood up shakily nodding and made her way to the counter. I finished cleaning the floor and washed my hands before making my way over to her, she was sitting on a bench next to the counter. "Are you ok?" I asked softly.
She looked up at me, she seemed around my age and her brown eyes were full of worry and distress. She shook her head slowly and took another sip of the coffee. "I think I made the biggest mistake of my life."
I frowned and sat down across from her, she continued talking quickly. "I don't know why, but, I don't know. I'm so stupid, I didn't think, but now, he's- I can't do anything about it." She bit her lip to stop herself from crying and I felt this intense need to help her.
"Someone told me," I started softly. "someone told me that you have to make your own happiness."
Her eyes widened at that and she opened her mouth as if to say something and then closed it and started playing with her fingers. "Sorry" She said suddenly and got up so quickly that her chair fell over, but she didn't take any notice. She put her hand into her purse and pulled out a twenty dollar note and a ten. She put it on the table and walked out of the shop before I could protest.
I saw her pull out her cell phone from her bag as she made her way down the street.
I sighed feeling confused and put the money in the register before serving the long line of customers waiting for me.
I smiled as David walked into the store the next morning. I picked up the coffee pot and started pouring him coffee before he reached the bench. "Apple and cinnamon scroll?" I asked lightly already reaching into the glass cabinet to take one out.
He shook his head "Not today."
I paused and took out my hand slowly. "Ok."
"I feel like cake." He smiled widely, his blue eyes were twinkling. A nice change from the sadness I'd seen in them before. I smiled back. "Two chocolate cakes please."
I froze. "Two?"
He nodded. "My girlfriends outside making a call -we got back together yesterday, she called me, said she'd made the biggest mistake of her life."
I felt my heart drop as I put on a fake smile. "That's so great."
He nodded and turned towards the door as the bell tinkled. A woman walked through the door. She smiled at me as she made her way to the counter. "I'm so sorry about yesterday." She said sincerely as I got out two chocolate cakes and poured another cup of coffee. "and thank you." She added softly.
I handed it over the counter and smiled. "It's ok, everything's fine."
They made their way over to the table in the corner and sat down. I could see them whispering to each other and giggling. I turned away and busied myself with cleaning the tables.
They left soon and I was left with an empty feeling at the bottom of my stomach.
They came in again the next morning and I smiled, and started pouring a cup of coffee. David shook his head. "No, we're not here for coffee." I stopped pouring the coffee and gave him a questioning glance. "I just wanted to say thank you for everything for the past weeks." He looked over at his girlfriend and put his arm around her. "We're moving, and so I probably won't see you again, we wanted to say goodbye, and thanks."
I nodded silently and shrugged a little, startled when David reached towards me over the counter and gave me a half hug. I watched them walk out of the door, out of my life. David turned one more time and waved at me, his eyes were sparkling and laughing.
I sighed and laid my head on the table. Why couldn't I be happy like that? I paused. Why couldn't I be happy?
I lifted my head slightly, I didn't try hard enough. I never tried hard enough. That was why I was here- running a coffee shop, alone.
You have to make your own happiness…
"Can I have a coffee?"
I nodded absently and pouring the woman a cup of coffee and picking up my cell phone with my other hand. I debated with myself for a few seconds before dialing a number. The phone rang twice before someone picked up. "Hello?"
"Hi." I said nervously. "This is Sarah."
I felt the man on the other end pause before saying "Sarah?"
His voice… I hadn't heard it for so long, and I didn't know what to say to make everything right again. "I'm sorry." I said softly.
"Sarah, I missed you so much."
"I missed you too, I didn't mean to- I was just-"
"Yes… I'm so sorry." I said again, trying to make him understand.
"It's ok Sarah, it's ok."
I sighed and started crying into the phone. "Andrew…"
I could hear him shuffling around on the other end. "I'm coming over to the coffee house ok?"
I nodded even though he couldn't see me and hung up the phone.
He arrived ten minutes later; I looked up when I heard the bell tinkling. I smiled at him and made my way around the counter wrapping my arms around him.
"What made you change your mind?" He asked softly. He pulled away and I could see his blue sparkling eyes, the same colour as David's.
I shook my head slowly and whispered mostly to myself. "His eyes."
A/N- Ok. So what do you think? Constructive Criticism would be good. Like it? Hate it? Tell me!