Angel’s Coffee

All Rights Reserved ©

That Order

Dorothy took her seat at the table and stared at the chair across from her. She hadn’t seen them walk in, but she did notice that there were two more people in the small coffee shop. A young man sat with the woman near the window, and an older gentleman took a seat across from the man at the other table. The wooden chair opposite her was now the only empty one.

The curvy edge of her smile straightened, and Dorothy remembered why she was there. She had pulled the car into the parking lot after a young couple saw her talking to herself on the road. She was sure they thought she was crazy. And maybe they were right. She was an old woman driving a nice car and having a full conversation with a person who wasn’t there. That was the very definition of crazy.

What made it worse, was this was not the first time Dorothy had done this. For years she had driven down the 101. And for years Dorothy had turned to the passenger seat and talked to the man who never said a word back.

Her late husband, Leonard Charles Hope, was the best man Dorothy had ever known. They had met at Walt’s Soda Counter. Dorothy had reached out to grab the coke bottle Old Man Walt had popped the top to, and Leonard had done the same. Their hands had met, they both smiled, and Old Man Walt popped another open before smirking and walking away.

The two sat at the counter for hours drinking their sodas and talking about anything and everything. Dorothy loved the way he smiled, and she laughed so hard that she snorted multiple times. She loved that he loved her snort. She loved the way he looked at her that first day. She loved everything about him. It took just one day, and young Dorothy Anne Campbell knew that she had met her husband.

He walked her home that night, after Old Man Walt had given them the look of a worker who was trying to close up and leave. He offered her a ride in his car, the prettiest one Dorothy had ever seen, red, shiny, and as handsome as the man she had just met. But she knew that her mother would lose her mind if she saw her daughter dropped off in a car at night. So the two walked. It wasn’t far to her house, and Dorothy wished the walk lasted longer. When she finally got to her walkway, Leonard politely shook her hand and asked if he could see her again. She wanted to scream the word “yes”, but she just smiled and nodded.

Their first kiss would come a few days later after a midday showing of A Shot in the Dark. And the marriage proposal followed only a couple of short months later. The wedding was small and intimate, a little ceremony near San Francisco. The honeymoon was spent driving down the coast in his new Mustang and spending the nights in the small motels that would take young black couples. It was everything Dorothy could have wanted. He was everything Dorothy could have wanted.

But now, Dorothy sat at a table meant for two, her husband probably still sleeping in their bed, and her without a soul to keep her company.

She took a look out the window at the car that brought her here. It was still as beautiful as that night she had seen it parked outside the soda shop. Her smile returned to her face just as the young man from the counter came over with a tea cup and hot kettle.

“Would you like me to pour for you?” he asked with a smile.

“That would be wonderful.”

He picked up the beautiful porcelain kettle, and the cup filled with steaming water that darkened from the tea bag.

“Thank you,” she said with a nod.

The young man finished pouring and headed into the back room with the hot kettle. He returned to the counter a minute later when a new customer walked in. But by that time Dorothy had lost herself in her surroundings.

Something about the small coffee shop seemed captivating. She must have passed the shop a hundred times and never truly noticed it. But now, she wondered how she could have missed it. Something about the dark wooden walls, the steam rising from her cup, even the people that were in that room with her.

The woman that arrived just before Dorothy, the one that sat near the window with the young man Dorothy hadn’t seen come in, was in tears. The man that entered with Dorothy, had a look on his face like he was staring at a ghost. Both of their eyes were as wide as their faces would allow.

Dorothy didn’t know why they looked that way. She wasn’t sure who they were or why they were here. She did know that there was something about this coffee shop that felt magical. She could see it on their faces. She could smell it in the air.

She breathed in and the warm scent of her Earl Grey mixed with a smell that brought her back sixty years. She could recognize that intoxicating scent anywhere. Lenny’s shirt smelled of that cologne on the day they met. And he smelled of that soothing fragrance every time they had seen each other afterwards. For fifty years she had hugged him and breathed in deep the smell that made her smile. It was one of the things she missed the most when he passed.

“I’ll take a coffee, thank you.” The words rang out from the man at the counter in a deep thundering voice. It was a voice Dorothy knew well. It was the same voice that asked if he could see her again. The same one that asked her to marry him. The same one that sang sweet songs to her when she would get sick.

Dorothy said the next words with him. “Just enough cream to make it sweet, not enough to make me fall in love.”

Leonard Charles Hope had ordered his coffee that way every time, from their first breakfast date at Tina’s Diner to their last meal at St. Mary’s Hospital. And now he stood a few feet away from Dorothy, smiling at her.
Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.