Today, Thursday, is my lucky day. I snag what I consider the best of the tables at the Temple Bar–just left of the door, and surrounded by windows, therefore ideal for people-watching–and sit down.
I smell like work (what is that? Chemical mint and fluoride? There’s no telling, but it’s a distinctively dental smell), and I feel like a week’s worth of good news and bad news has alternately lifted me up and thrown me to the ground. Bruised and weary, oddly elated, I order a glass of the house red wine and start pulling books and notebooks (yes, plural) from my bag.
I love the Temple Bar, I really do. Something about the sturdy, thick-grained tables and the red glass votives that flicker, warm and snug, on the table tops, catching reflections of themselves in wineglasses and windows, appeals to me on a very cozy level. White Christmas lights, good music, red velvet cushions. Pretty much my idea of heaven.
The waitress brings my glass of wine, deftly sliding a coaster across the table toward me. She is very pretty, with honey-colored hair in a pixie cut, strange silver-fringe earrings and a pale blue top. “Oh,” she says, noticing my book, “I read that.”
This is a line that works on me every single time.
“Really?” I ask. “What did you think?”
The sun is setting and, ray by ray, it slinks across the pages of my book. I am distracted, looking up every time somebody walks by, watching them round the corner. I make notes; I draw sketches of strangers in my notebook; I realize that everybody in Bellingham is beginning to look vaguely familiar.
By the time Mitch shows up to meet me and walk with me home, I’ve read less than five pages of Sophie’s World, scribbled half-a-page worth of notes on complete strangers, and my wine glass is empty but covered with fingerprints.
I have done nothing; I feel magnificent. My very long week is ending.