Friday, November 20, 2015

Grumpy Meets Kafka Woman

Cafe Stories: Kafka Woman

A few weeks ago a woman was in the cafe quietly reading my story, Remembering Argos. I wrote about her then. I think I described her then as seeming like a serene or peaceful soul. She had come over and asked who is Lee Bemrose. I said I am. She told me she loved the story, that it really moved her. I got the distinct impression that she wanted to talk, but I was busy with coffee, and she left. My helper said to me, I think she wanted to talk to you. I shrugged and said maybe next time, but felt like maybe I'd blown it because she had an accent and was probably a traveler stopping by as she moved on. There probably wasn't going to be a next time.

Weeks later there is another traveler looking for work. I walk into the service area as The Dreaded One is telling the traveler that we are fully staffed. The traveler smiles at me and says hello the way you say it to a friend. I don't recognise her immediately, but we start talking and I realise who it is. It is her, as beautiful and peaceful and serene as ever. We start talking. I tell her how happy I am that she came back because I got the impression that she might have wanted to talk. I also go the impression that she might be a writer. Right on both counts.

It screwed with my afternoon getaway timetable, but I wasn't going to miss the same opportunity twice. The talk was easy and jumped about all over the place. I think something about my short story intrigued; she wanted to know more about someone who would write such a story, a story that she said has stayed with her so strongly since she read it. I asked if she was a writer, and she told me about a play she wrote and produced just after her uni years, and said that someone had compared it to Kafka, and how proud that made her feel.

We told each other about ourselves. She seemed content to stay in the cafe, saying something about its vibe. Eventually I had to continue packing down. She said the coffee I made was the best she had had in a long time. She sang quietly as I cleared the day away. Her voice was exquisite. We thanked each other for whatever it was we had given each other and said we'd probably run into each other again.

I could be wrong, but I thought I felt the hint of the beginning of a friendship between Grumpy and Kafka Woman.

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