The day’s December melancholy draped the hills and streets in the form of an omnipresent mist accented with drizzle. The traveler’s refuge was the festive environment of a Starbucks rather peculiarly situated in the sculpted desert neighborhood where he had recently been hanging his hat. Otherwise the day was rather typical, or at least as typical as his days tended to be. Sipping his latte, he perused the contents of the digital universe quietly on his computer at a tiny table at the far edge of the café next to the baristas’ counter.
Almost incidentally the corner of his eye caught the motion of a young employee sweeping the floor around him. She was cute. Tall, lithe, and possessing long, flowing hair of a color that resembled both caramel and honey bathed in an aurora of sunlight. The corner of his mouth turned slightly upward in a coy smile as he returned his attention to his crucial work of shepherding the day to a close. Just as he began to type, however, she accidentally bumped the counter next to him with her broom causing a cup of toothpicks to fall onto the floor next to his table. Glancing down at the myriad of wooden slivers scattered on the floor, he was shocked to see that several of the toothpicks had serendipitously arranged themselves to form letters that made a sentence among the sprawl of splinters that said, “this was meant to happen.”
At an utter loss, he looked anxiously at the young barista and exclaimed, “do you see that? Can you believe it?”
Her reply was rather terse. “No sir, I don’t see anything, and I find your comments to be disturbing. I ask you to say nothing to me. You’re too old.”
Astounded, he couldn’t speak for a second. He looked down at her name tag. Noah was her name. On her nametag, right below her name, was written: “I love you”. Upon reading her tag, he looked into her eyes and exclaimed, “are you kidding me?”
At that moment, the portly, grey-haired manager spoke in a guttural bark, “sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” The big man put a sock in the traveler’s mouth and escorted him by the arm to the front door saying, “Don’t come back. Try to stay at least 7,411 miles away.”
Completely confused, the traveler pulled out his phone and called an Uber, standing at the storefront in a fugue. Minutes passed, and his Uber pulled up, piloted by a rather attractive woman with a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye. “Where to?” she said.
“I don’t know,” he stated as he climbed into the car. “Probably back home.”
As she put the automobile into motion, his comely driver asked him with a seductive look, “and where would that be?”
“I don’t know. Probably back at that Starbucks,” the traveler responded.
Deflated, the lovely driver then pulled over to the side of the rainy street and unlocked the doors without a word. The traveler got out and started walking toward Guadalajara. What would he do there? What was left to do? The failure was complete.