Heathrow Connection

Heathrow. 5:20AM.

Teeming with passengers. Awaiting turbo charged chariots. Language, tradition, costume, religion, food. Passports. A diversity explosion. Worldwide destinations. Places I’ve never heard of.

Diapers and strollers, mingling with Blackberries and briefcases.  Business and pleasure early in the day.

Sitting at La Giraffe. Breakfast before a flight to Washington, D.C. to catch a flight for Boston. To grab a cab for a hotel. A day on wings and wheels.

I watch motion play in front of me as I would a movie. There are people everywhere but they don’t touch me. They don’t find me. They don’t know me. They are moving pictures.

A server comes to my table, bright smile, wide awake. Attached to her life, inside her body. Not on the way somewhere, instead she has arrived. On a mission. Asks me what I want. Oatmeal, please. Can you make a cappuccino? Certainly, she answers. Thanks me and disappears.

Booths and tables fill with people. I try to identify countries of origin. Languages and dialects spoken. A word here or there. While fresh faced servers scramble from table to table furnishing menus, offering coffee and tea, passing water, providing something. Something similar to a safe place to light, to ease burdens while waiting to board, and claim territory on crowded flights in endless skies. 

Courier with twinkling eyes returns to deliver cup and saucer. A perfect cappuccino comes my way. Foam is dense, and dreamy, and silky, and white. And drawn in the dark and light of coffee and cream is a milky white heart. Edges vague and dissolving into creamy foam. Is this an illusion?

Who spends time creating beauty in coffee? A man, or a woman? Young, or old?  Part time gig while going to school? Or, a last one, semi-retired, doing it his way for four hours a day? 

A daily grind? Or, a lark and a laugh?  Saving just a few more pounds for a journey--west?  Sending people packing with a final, single memory of good wishes drawn on a dreamy, creamy cup of coffee.

I hold the bowl in two cupped hands. Gingerly sip at the fringe, rotating the vessel as I drink, to keep the filmy apparition at the center. How much might I consume without disrupting the heart? Someone’s attentive art to an unknown waiting for a plane. Is it possible to be so careful that when I’m finished it will lie undisturbed on the bottom of the bowl so I can return to sender?

Thank you, Stranger.

Alone, before 6AM in a crowded terminal in London, awaiting my hectic, homesick day, you sent me off with a gift of your craft and your attention. You sent an anonymous love note into an anonymous world.

And you found me.

Thanks, Julie!


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