Yesterday at the Coffee Shop

I stepped backwards,
almost into you,
a perfect stranger,
twenty years my senior.
I apologized—
"I'm sorry. I'm in the way here,
waiting for my tea."

You softly said,
"You're not in the way."
And again,
"You're not in the way."

You were looking at me
with kind eyes.
The kind of look
a parent gives a young child
needing reassuring.

A simple moment,
a nothingness of a moment,
happening all of the time each day,
sorrys and excuse mes,
all those little things we say.

But this moment was different.
Time slowed in me;
I saw the befores and afters,
everything in between,
two souls briefly meeting.

There was a lightness in you as you spoke gently to me, as you ordered your tea, and then stood, waiting by me.

Two strangers at a coffee shop, ordering tea. Never in the way. Taking up space— space we were meant to take.

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