The soft hum of conversation surrounds me. I sit at a small rectangular table by the wall of my my favorite local coffee shop, a friendly trio – my mug of cherry mocha, composition notebook journal, and small potted plant – keeping me company. This is a comfortable place, one without even a hint of pretense. Lovingly-wrapped chocolates line the shelves along the walls, waiting to be purchased as gifts, and small pieces of artwork from a local photographer hang in the gaps. It is early morning, and the old-timers are meeting behind me, bonding over the small town newspaper, or maybe a game of chess, and discussing current events. The regulars, those who are in the rushed transition between home and work, bustle in and out, grabbing their cuppa something and offering a quick hello to friend and stranger alike. After sharing a few greetings of my own, I root around in my purse for my bright yellow fountain pen and settle in for a quiet hour.
It’s like this nearly every morning. This small place, frequented by so many in my town, is a hodgepodge of scattered, mismatched wooden chairs and tables, all with unique personality, and each holding moment after moment of shared life. I am hard-pressed to find the shop empty, unless I am waiting by the door when it is unlocked, and surprisingly, this comfortable-in-her-skin introvert likes it that way. I am known here. And not just by the owners and the regular guests, but also by the space.