Image of Short Story


“That’s my chair.”

The old man stood before the girl and adjusted the blanket draped over his arm. Mocha-schmocha something swirled around him and everyone else in the coffee shop.

She closed her laptop, yanked on the earbuds and looked him up and down. “What?”

“That’s my chair.”

“I’m sitting here.”

“But that’s my chair.”

“PFFT. Not now.”

“Hey. Old Man. Take your moth-eaten blanket, your book and get out of my sight,” said his son.

“You look like a whore. Your mother never went out looking like that,” said her grandmother.



“That’s my chair.”

“Uh, no. I was here first.”

“But that’s my chair.”

“Get here earlier.”


“Do you have to be in the same room as me?” said his son.

“I’m too old for this crap,” said her grandmother.



He arrived ten minutes early. But she was already there.

“That’s always my chair.”

“GOD. Not. Always.” And she said that a bit too loud.

Everyone hushed.
The hipster coding,
the high school physics study group,
the first date,
the two moms on hiatus from momming.

And the barista, who was working on her graduate degree in medieval French poetry, leaned across the counter.

Self-defined as a rebel of peer pressure, she relented and got up.

“Thank you,” he said.

He settled himself into the familiar folds of the leather chair, spread the red and black check blanket across his lap and opened his book. In four and a half minutes, surrounded by the warm Columbian roast that hung in the air and vintage playlist, he fell asleep.


“I don’t care where you go. Just go,” said his son.

“I don’t care where you go. Just go,” said her grandmother.


He arrived fifteen minutes early. His chair was empty.

She was at a table.

He nodded. She nodded.

The hipster, the physics group, the absentee moms and the second date strangers looked on.

And the medieval French poet barista brought him a tea with lemon. On the house.


He arrived at his usual time and settled into his leather chair, spread the blanket across his lap and opened his book.

She was at the counter and placed her order for a peppermint swirl something, and French poet barista snapped on the lid.

He waggled his finger to get her attention and motioned, “On me.”
The barista leaned close to her and whispered.

The girl stood before the old man, juggled her laptop and cup, and cleared her throat. “Uh, thanks, you know, for the coffee.”

“Thanks for the chair. I’m Walter,” and he smoothed the blanket over his legs.
She watched for a hot second and then pulled it to reach the floor, covering the rest of his legs and feet. “I’m Becca. So...what are you reading?”


“Again? What is at that coffee shop?”

“Why don’t you stay home? What’s at that coffee shop, anyway?”