The Coffee Shop

So imagine you could talk to your ten-year younger self. What would you tell them? What wouldn’t you? This is the story of a man in his mid-twenties who was drinking coffee one day. There was nothing extraordinary about this man, nor was he incredibly dull, he just was. An average human man who had drifted through life until he experienced a rather extraordinary event.

As I said he was drinking coffee on his own in a coffee shop when a shadow fell over him. He looked up with a frown to see who was there and very nearly dropped him mug. Standing over him was a boy who looked remarkably like his sixteen year old self. He frowned looking at the boy, who he now noticed was holding a coffee of his own. “May I join you?” The boy asked him.

The man frowned studying him closer before gesturing him into the seat across the table. The boy sat and started to drink his coffee as if he was waiting for something to happen. As if it was perfectly ordinary to sit down to have a drink with a complete stranger. “What’s your name, kid?” The man asked at last, infuriated by the silence.

The boy looked at him curiously his head cocked to one side. The man thought it made him look slightly dogish like when a dog seems to think you’re not making any sense and is trying to decide whether it’s intentional or not. “You don’t know your own name?” The boy asked at length.

The man resisted the urge to groan. Who answered a questioning with a question? Well, this boy for one and people who were evading the question for anther. Or people who thought you were being stupid by asking the question because you already knew. That took him back to the dog analogy again. “Of course I…” he started to say and then stopped. He studied the boy closer, “You’re not…?” He faltered again. “That’s impossible,” he finally settled on.

“Mad yet here I am,” the boy replied the corners of his mouth twitching in amusement at the man. “Ruins you impossible a bit,” he added with a smirk. ” Anyway, while I’m here I thought I’d see what you’ve got to say.”

The man sighed and polished off the dregs of his coffee. Catching a servers eyes he requested another before he turned back to the boy. “Alright, ask away, little me,” he said a hint of mischief dancing in his eyes that really pronounced the similarities between him and the boy.

“What’s the hardest thing you’ve every done?” The boy asked just as the man’s new coffee arrived.

The man took a sip of his coffee before he answered. “I’d have thought your first question would be more something like how much do I earn,” he commented quietly. “Apart from the pesky little exams you’ve got to look forward to, there is something.” The boy watched him showing what appeared to be genuine interest. “I…”he stopped, “You…”he stopped again, “We completed the three peaks challenge.” The boy frowned at him the question, why, written across his face. “We did it with a couple of mates from work. It was a charity thing.”

The boy nodded and muttered something into his mug. “Alright so what’s the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done?”

The man didn’t pauses for as long before he answered this one. “Most rewarding has got to be buying an engagement ring for my girlfriend the other week.”

“Your engaged?” The boy said excitedly.

“Just a few technicalities,” the man replied. He hated to burst the kid’s happiness over this unfortunately the kid had already figured it out.

“You haven’t proposed yet,” the boy said watching him carefully. “Just do something sweet and romantic and then propose.” The man raised an eyebrow at that vague advice and rose his mug to his lips to avoided answering. The boy’s incomprehension of the situation was amusing. When he lowered his mug again to finally reply it turned out the boy was gone leaving behind an empty mug and a handful of coins to pay for it.

A response to Good Tidings, today’s daily prompt


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