Sometimes I sit in coffee shops and see young parents with their children, playfully correcting behavior that every child does, the parent smiling joyfully with the realization that the little girl is theirs, that the little boy has their mother’s eyes or their father’s nose. And they can take them out and buy them a cookie and hot chocolate and all is right in the world.
Or the old couple who need to help each other to open the door. One will slowly choose the table while the other orders and pays for their lunch that they will split because it is way too much to eat alone. When their partner comes to the table a smile like the sun bursting through the clouds after a thunderstorm comes over the table chooser.
Or the young couple, new to love that will sit and argue endlessly about some minor point of modern culture, proving their point by facts uncovered on the web. The other one counters with some other point from an equally obscure and unreliable website. The point is forgotten as they both laugh over a friend’s post.
Even the teenage daughter who has not said two words to her father because she has been texting her friends for the last twenty minutes, playfully bumps her shoulder against him as he stares deeply into his sandwich.
The couple who have been married twenty years, dressed in their Sunday’s best, coming from church. They are holding hands secure in the knowledge that God loves and has blest them in their marriage.
I know that I will not have any of this. I feel detached from my own life. I had a wife and a family. I lived those stages but they have now passed. And it is as if they never existed except in a dream world. I sit detached at my table watching my fingers hit the keys much too slowly. I stop, frozen between words. I look up at my coffee with soy milk and cup of water. My eyes scan the coffee shop, looking for something, looking for meaning. A phrase, a sentence comes to me and I quickly write it down and then nothing. I stop again and look around. This is tedious work. But I write another sentence.
I write about finding love, finding happiness. I realize that as long as I write about it, I will find neither. After three hours, I close down my computer and go home.