That is why I write – to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance. ― Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
He sat silent at the table, his coffee hot and bitter. He looked up to collect his runaway thoughts then continued to read an old book. Around him life moved near light speed in tweets to Twitter. Facebook connected ten thousand souls to only ten distracted minds that milled around in half-dazed skulls. Next to him sat a woman. He knew in her day she was someone else’s love. Her hair was near solid gray, well dressed in blue, white, and spotless shoes. She read a book he once read, perhaps thirty years ago.
Before he could catch himself, his voice jumped free from his lips and across the table it carried. “Great story. I enjoyed it myself long ago.” His hands felt a tiny tremor. He feared the coldness that must surely come his way. She smiled and with a long forgotten elegance noted he knew good books and had an old classic, she could tell. And then he delighted to show her that it was his memoir he wrote; finished long ago. She sat and listened to every tale and in a few words encouraged him on.
Tumblr, Pinterest, and Angie’s List too, silenced all the patrons, but couldn’t silence the old man and the woman with spotless shoes. He poured out his memories to her like marbles on a floor and every time he picked one up, he remembered more. He took her polite smile as interest in his life. He could see that behind her eyes there were things she held close to her heart.
In a long-held gaze, too long to be polite, he apologized. “I can see that you have many memories too.” He sensed he had hurt her with stories of his youth. “I’ve said such things, I shouldn’t have.” “No, it’s okay. Please continue. There is no place I have to go just yet.” Her voice was soft and distant. He felt a deep shame that all this time he talked it was with a selfish need to never be alone with his thoughts.