She is standing before me, talking at me, but I am deep in the thought and song of laptops and headphones.
When I finally realize she is talking to me, I peel off my headphones and apologize.
“That book,” she says, pointing to the copy of Letters to a Young Poet that sits on my table, “That book is amazing.”
This strikes me on a couple of fronts.
One, she’s maybe 15, tops.
Two, this doesn’t seem like a book that would hold the interest of your average 15-year-old.
At least, not any 15-year-old I’ve known.
The ones I have known seemed most interested in sprawling themselves on the couch in the living room, propping their sweaty feet on the table, arguing over who has control of the remote.
But this one clearly is different.
She’s adorable, her cheeks red from the winter wind chills outside. Her long, straight hair and flowery dress. She looks like she might have just fallen out of 1971.
She’s also adorably awkward, glancing toward the floor, clearly so very excited to see a copy of Rilke on somebody’s table at the coffee shop, yet also a bit surprised that she just approached a total stranger.
Her equally adorable friend stands next to her, a slight grin on her face, patiently waiting out our conversation with a look of, “Oh, I guess we’re talking to this guy about your favorite book now.”
“Do you like it?” the first girl asks.
“I’ve read it twice and carry it with me, reading from it every morning, reviewing certain passages — it’s not a book as much as a good friend, you know?” I say.
She jumps and grabs her friends arm. “OhmygoshYES!” she says.
She turns back toward me, recommends a book of his poetry, I thank her for the recommendation, and they move along toward the coffee bar.
But not first without both standing, more or less at attention, to say “Bye!”
With a wave.
They are standing about three feet in front of me.
A few minutes later, I catch something out of the corner of my eye.
It’s the first girl. She’s doing a little dance in the corner as the second girl waits for her coffee.
Twirling the long dress. Swinging her arms.
All by herself.
Completely lost in the moment.
And it’s not really a little dance. It’s a big dance—the dance of somebody who doesn’t care who’s watching.
I think it’s going to be just fine, this world of ours.
And if it’s not, well, I know where we can all go to dance as it all ends.