The brisk fall breeze rustled my hair as I began making my way across the parking lot. After the rain and mist of the day before, the perfectly blue sky and freshness of the bright sun left me feeling quiet and relaxed. In front of me, an older gentleman left his car and began walking toward the building. I fell into step behind him, thinking little about it. I followed him across the road, onto the sidewalk, and to the coffee shop where he happily opened and held the door.
"I thought you were following me," he said in a beautiful voice with a gentle Eastern European accent (Russian was my first thought - but very soft - not slight, but soft)
I smiled brightly, commented, and took my place behind him in line. He then turned around and offered to buy my coffee.
I was stunned and delighted and taken aback. I thanked him profusely and smiled with all the delight of a child with a stocking on Christmas morning. My heart was floating with the kindness and surprise of the offer. Which, to be honest, I accepted and then refused. I always have one of the big, fancy, 5 dollar coffees... and it didn't feel right asking him to drop that money on something so frivolous.
He left with his regular sized black drip and I waited for my big, fancy coffee treat. And I found myself missing Europe, remembering how I love it there, and sending out all the good vibes I could to this man with the wonderful voice and the kind heart and who noticed that he was being followed. He gave me much more than an offer to buy my coffee. (Thank you!)
Thoughts of Europe tease my mind of late. The feel of the breeze, the smell of the damp earth, notes from Sweden, an Irish movie recommended by Edgar, and a kindly gentleman with a delightful smile. Each send me a twinge of a memory - walking on cobblestone streets, giving little notice to buildings that have survived wars and centuries, accents and languages and cultures all so very different than my own.
My heart remembers, smiles, and longs to experience parts of Europe again.
It has been a long time; a very long time.