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By Kacie Davis Idol

It was so perfect, the whole setting, almost like a scene out of a movie. Fate must have been on my side because my hair was on point and there wasn’t even a cloud in the crisp, clear December sky. The coffee was strong that day and I can still remember feeling especially awake with clarity for miles. The sun had just made its way over the shortest building that lined the humble downtown skyline and poured in through the wall-length windows. I sat in my usual spot which was advisedly the best seat in the house. At a round, wooden table in farthest corner from the door, I sat alone with an empty seat straight across from me. To my immediate left sat a narrow stainless steel caddy that hosted creams, sugars, honey and cinnamon. I also liked that_my_table had initials with hearts around them carved into it; it was good reading material for a slow morning. And finally, from where I sat I had a clear visual on any patron entering the small coffee house before they even reached the double wood-framed, glass doors.

On a frigid December morning I had arrived just after they opened, claiming the freshest cup of coffee possible and my favorite spot. Along with my writer’s block, I was accompanied by a copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in The Rye for inspiration and my composition notebook, which I carried almost everywhere back then. Holding a black ink pen loosely in my hand, I drew circles over and over until the paper bled stopping only to take sips of coffee. There was so much to say but it had temporarily escaped me when I saw him walk past the stretch of windows heading straight towards the double doors. He was tall and muscular but not the gym-rat type; more like the “lumbersexual” look with broad shoulders. His look was rough and unpolished with a pair of dark fitted jeans and a hooded twill military jacket. His lush, dark hair was too long to be neatly pushed to the side, although it looked like he had tried, and his beard was thick but trimmed neatly so that it complimented his obvious and strong jaw line. Serious eye brows sat above his dark eyes and just as I made note of his lips he slightly grazed them with his tongue and pressed them together for short lived relief from the wintry weather. He was all man and I was completely intoxicated by him.

He ordered a black coffee, of course, and sat alone in the corner opposite of me. I assumed he was waiting for someone so I kept glancing towards the doors but he never acted as if he were expecting anyone, in fact, he pulled a composition notebook of his own from a worn, leather shoulder bag and began to write. I could only imagine the content of that notebook and I wanted to know so badly. He seemed like the quiet type; one that might have better luck with a pen and paper. Lost in a daydream of dark sonnets that I imagined filled the pages in his notebook, I caught myself dazed and staring at ancient water ring stains in my little round table, my pen no longer making contact with my paper. When I glanced his way he was smiling, not at his writings but at me. Back then you could convince me to avoid an obvious gamble but in his case I was willing to take my chances. Smiling back at him I’m sure I looked innocent but I didn’t feel like it one bit; I thought about the words he was scribbling and then his pen and then his hand… I couldn’t look away if I tried.

Image: Josh Felise

This has been an excerpt of Katie’s new novel, The Tulip Factory. Pre-order it here.

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