The Coffee Shop

A coffee shop. Trendy enough. And who’s here? There is an artist, I think he’s going to school. He sits hovering over his papers paying attention each detail in his drawing, one pencil clamped between his teeth the other being guided across the paper. Earphones dangle but don’t interfere. When he looks up at people walking past his table I see in his eye an artist’s power of observation. They’re friendly eyes but penetrating, it seems to me that he is seeing more than a face when he looks up. He is observing a face in a way only an artist can.

The table between he and I contains a screenwriter and his laptop and his cellphone. Nice enough guy and ready to talk about his project. I think he said Matt Damon or someone like that is going to be in it. Though the laptop is opened the only thing I’ve ever seen happen there is him showing the unfinished trailer on it. On occasion he seems to be reviewing the script. Once he explained the plot to someone. Something about a discredited FBI or CIA agent and terrorists on their way to Washington DC and no one believes him. Cookie cutter. Still, he doesn’t seem to be making this up, I just can’t fathom why he’s in Chicago and not L.A. He told someone once but I didn’t pay attention. He spends a lot of time on his cellphone. If this is all a farce, the cellphone is a fantastic cover. He could sit in his coffee shop talking into a dead phone about all kinds of wonderful movie deals and plans. If he’s legit then I’m sitting a few feet away from some hot deal making. Either way, the man is involved in fiction, and from the sounds of it it is cheap fiction real or imagined.

And then there’s me. A middle-aged seminary student struggling to keep up with Greek and leaving a family at home with not much money and not a whole lot to do. No cable and nothing on TV. I leave them with the car when I can but my wife doesn’t know her way around very well yet and doesn’t have anywhere to go if she did. Not that my life is much better. School six days a week and then about four or five hours of study afterwards, more for harder chapters. Caffeine is a way of life really. Not complaining, this is the life God has called me to and we (my family and I) know that it is only for a certain amount of time. Then the hard work starts.

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