I've quickly discovered there are easy distractions here too, though, in the form of the other people occupying small tables all around me. There is the blonde woman with a tote bag full of colourful yarn who weaves a crochet hook methodically through loops of deep purple, silver speckled wool, creating a pretty hat in the process. A young man rests his darkly stubbled chin on his fist in a thoughtful moment of pause as he considers what he's just typed onto his computer screen. The slender man behind me with the graying hair sips his beverage while turning the pages of a booklet filled with complex, intriguing-looking math equations at slow intervals. Across from me, a flush-cheeked young woman jots down notes in a small black leather book; I notice she is left-handed. I cast quick, curious glances at each of them every now and then, knowing I should just mind my own business, but I can't help wondering what their stories are. What pressing work has brought each of them here on this particular morning? From what might they be trying to escape?
I have always seen the world in stories. As a child, the warm light glowing from windows of other peoples' homes in the evening enticed me to imagine the lives breathing within the buildings' walls. Snippets of conversations overheard in public spaces have often flourished like vines, branching out into full-fledged fictional narratives in my mind. I am driven still to ponder the complex inner workings of human beings and the ways in which they connect with one another. Maybe, then, these people around me who come and go, giving me tiny glimpses into their uncommon lives, are not distractions at all, but interesting possibilities to consider beyond myself as I search out the stories I most want to tell.
I watch with great interest as the crocheting woman skillfully crafts a little flower out of yarn and attaches it to the hat she has now finished making. Her morning's work has produced something tangible and satisfying. I realize now with sudden gladness that so has mine.