I like how she glances about the room, how she holds her coffee cup, how she pauses with pen in hand before writing in her journal. She has many rings on her fingers (no engagement ring or wedding band, I've noted) but short, unpolished, simple fingernails. Often, she brushes her short, blonde hair away from her eyes-- it's a habit, I'm sure. She wears a tan fisherman's knit sweater that, oddly, matches the color of her journal's pages. There's a beauty mark on her right cheek.
Hard to believe she's alone. Seeing her in her own world is part of the beauty, I think-- that she comes here to be among people, yet she is still solitary. Her chewing of her cinnamon roll is cute. I think I see dimples. She wants to be dainty and cut a piece with her fork, but it isn't cooperating, so she snatches it up in her hand, licking the sweetness from her fingertips when she finishes.
Her journal doesn't stay open readily, so she has to wrestle with it a bit as she turns the page, cradling it in her left arm as she writes. She's done this before. Has anyone noticed? She's written something that makes her smile, ever so slightly, and then she looks about again, resting her hand on her neck.
I can't leave before she does-- I'm too captivated. She sees someone she recognizes from a former job in Pike Place Market; I learn her name is Miriam. It fits (though I bet there have been times when she has hated it). That moment made her smile wide: not perfect, but enchanting.
I have moments of fleeting self-consicousness. Should I be watching and writing about her like this? Am I invading her world as an uninvited guest? And why, oh why, do I have to see her on a morning when I'm unshowered and scruffy, my teeth badly in need of brushing (which reminds me, I have to pick up toothpaste on the way home)?
But I don't feel guilty, for a few reasons. I am engaged in appreciation, not lust or covetousness or fantasy. And from her frequent glances about between sentences, I suspect her journal is peppered with similar observations about this coffeehouse world. There is something kindred.
She rose to get her mug refilled and I rose to get tea. The tea was secondary, being in line and the chance, however small, to interact was primary. I was intercepted within two steps, however, by a man I've seen here many times and never spoken with, sidetracked into a conversation about computing minutiae. She returned to her seat while we spoke, the moment lost, but I'd like to think that maybe, just maybe, I got a line or two in her journal as she looked about. I got my tea, much less excited about the process. On the walk back to my seat I got a smile from Miriam. It was good, very good.
Her eyes are blue, or maybe green, and light. I've now missed the start of first service at church; my decision to remain is worth it by far. There's always the 11 am, and if Miriam stays, always next Sunday. Jesus knows I have no shortage of church in my life. Perhaps this is more rare and precious.
One hour. I've watched and written for sixty minutes now, and I am somehow fuller. Miriam leans back to stretch, another move that is inexplicably graceful and natural. Right. Good. How often have I missed Miriam, and a world full of people like her?
She flips through pages past. I see red ink and wonder if it means something or if she just misplaced her black pen that morning. Both of us write and write; "Dueling Banjos" plays in my head and I smile.
I think if the sun was shining in and blinding me, I'd have missed this moment. They day is blessedly gray. She bites her lower lip in thought and I wonder if I've fallen in love. That simple gesture may have done me in.
As if on cue, she closes her journal, moving the green ribbon which marks her place, and packs up to leave. I smile to her again as she goes. The moment ends with the possibility of another. I will watch for her again, and maybe share a word or two.
I choose to believe Miriam's middle name is Hope.