I sat on the edge of the swarming parking lot, my eyes trained on the doors of a small coffee shop. Crimson curtains hung from the arched windows, held back by ribbons the color of sunshine. Round wooden tables were surrounded by wrought iron chairs, both indoors and out, rust precariously clinging to the delicate decorations. A painted sign reading, Café Chocolaté, had long since commenced to peel away from the rectangular window above the cherry wood door.
A steady stream of people ebbed in and through that door. Old men, young men, middle aged women and every age in-between in each gender. Except children. One rarely saw a child enter Café Chocolaté. I waited, fiddling with my scarf, sorting the crowd out in my head. The sun rose higher, cresting the roofs of the nearby businesses and shops. I squinted, then shut my eyes for a brief moment.
When I opened them again, I saw a woman, her hair white and topped by a flower bedecked hat, shuffle through the tide. A coffee in one hand and her purse slung over one shoulder, she took the step with care.
With one foot on the sidewalk and the other still on the step, she had only started to move, when a youngster of seventeen or thereabouts rushed past her, taking her balance with him. Coffee, hat, and hair all met the pavement, while the youngster didn’t even bother to look back.
I bit my lip, waiting to see the outcome, my fists clenched at my sides. The woman struggled to stand, but hadn’t the strength to pull her own body into an upright position. People continued to mill past, paying little or no heed to the afflicted woman.
Then a man, his gray suit pressed to perfection, his dark hair brushed neatly, and his shoes polished to perfection, joined the throng near the door, everything about his appearance shouting his importance. With one glance at the crumpled figure by the step, his briefcase met the pavement and he reached to help the woman to her feet. Assisting her to a rusted chair, even I could hear him ask if she needed medical attention.
She shook her head, smiling her thanks when he rescued her hat, and assured him once more that she was perfectly all right now, while pulling an old-fashioned handkerchief and a small hand-mirror out of her purse, and beginning to clean the dirt off of her face.
The man disappeared inside the café and I waited.
Within five minutes, he returned bearing two coffees. One, he gave to the old woman, once more asking if she were all right. Reassured by her vigorous nod and cheerful smile, the man picked up his briefcase, gave a slight bow, and started off.
I threw my scarf over my shoulder and rose to my feet. I had identified my first mission…
To the KING be all the glory!