Coffee Shop Reflections


She always sat in the corner of the coffee shop reading Sylvia Plath, twisting her blonde sun kissed dreadlocks, and watching the odd assortment of urbanites stroll past her in their rushed assertive manner. She was never one to hurry. She seemed like the kind of girl who had managed to avoid the typical stress of every day life by refusing to adopt society’s interpretation of success.

Her interpretation of success seemed to be freedom.

And not financial freedom, or the type of freedom that your parents put you through university for and told you to strive to achieve.

And not the kind of freedom that hurried past her on the sidewalk each day either.

HER freedom.

She was a gypsy street performer with no worldly possessions but a hiker’s backpack filled with acrylic paint, an assortment of wooden and ceramic beads, some hemp twine, a few changes of clothes and some photographs. She carried her backpack and her guitar with her everywhere and always looked like she was ready to leave, but was never quite ready.

Her smile radiated a hundred miles and beyond and the sparkle in her eye was one that I couldn’t even describe to you if I tried… Her eyes told a story of wisdom and courage.

The wisdom of somebody who “got it”

Somebody who knew what life was meant to be about.

Somebody who lived the life that she wanted to live without fear of judgment, rejection, or failure…

Somebody who just “was” and was happy being that person.

Somebody who was happy with what she had, which to some people would appear to be nothing, but to her… was exactly what she needed.

I knew I had to meet her. I had to know her, before she disappeared into the sunset to radiate another city with her infectious smile and sparkling eyes.  So I sat down beside her one day and smiled at her and she smiled back and said “beautiful day isn’t it?”

And it wasn’t. It was cold, it was wet, and the sky was gray, but I watched her eyes as they motioned up towards the sky and found the one and only break in the clouds that allowed a sliver of light to cast a warm glow on the concrete jungle around us. And I was amazed.

She saw the beauty in that. And I never would have.

She sipped her coffee slowly as we sat there in silence watching life go on around us.

And it wasn’t before long, until I began to see.  And I sat there in the same window that I had watched her observe others from, and I saw things the way she saw them. And I got lost in the beauty around me.  

I felt like I have always wanted to feel, but never have. I saw the things that I had always wanted to see, but never could. I forgot about all of the worries and stress invading my mind and just sat there completely content with my coffee and my thoughts.

The next day I went back to the coffee shop and I stood in the window expecting to see her, but she was gone, and instead, I saw myself.


6 thoughts on “Coffee Shop Reflections

  1. sorry but i have a real problem with your protagonist. i lived in brighton for 15 years and it’s absolutely infested with people like her.
    i think the story would have been stronger if the comment had been made by a cop or a voice coming out of a loudspeaker at the railway station.
    i very much liked your working of ‘reflections’ though.
    you write well but i feel that you could do with having a sideways look at yourself sometimes.

  2. Great piece! I think we need to look deeper into your piece to really appreciate its meaning. The protagonist is a reflection of society (and all of us) … we see things for their surface value. Things are either good or bad dependant on our own subjective nature. The goal in life (as I see it) is to shed this shackle that restricts us from being free and seeing the deeper meaning of things.

    I really enjoyed this piece because you gave us only a glimpse of the gypsy street performer. Because, unfortunately, that’s what we all see. We need to look hard, she’s is always there with a smile and a song … whether we have time or the patience to see her is a totally other story.

  3. Hey Lingo,

    I loved this one, and can totally relate. If people just relax for a little while, there is lots of beauty around, its just a matter of recognizing it.

    Keep up the stories, they are fantastic.

    Until next time,

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