Boom, boom goes my heart
7:30 a.m. at the coffee shop
How can I fill this strange and silent morning with words? How can I deconstruct the unusual silence that clutches each table? I sit alone in the sadly deserted coffee shop, waiting for humanity to awaken.
Outside the wind blows over the snow and turns it into rivulets of slush. The weakening winter insists on staying awhile. It doesn’t want to make room for spring just yet. Around 9:30, a few sleepwalkers looking for fellow humans enter the café. Their eyes are half closed, their faces downcast and their stomachs empty. They make their way to the pastry counter, trampling the imaginary clouds under their sleepy feet.
My fingers wave a few polite “hellos,” but the sleepwalkers don’t notice. When the espresso machine finally ejects its steam, a few of them open their eyes. The thick white foam of their lattes trembles In their clasped hands. The comforting liquid goes down their throats and snaps most of them awake.
The coffee shop is getting busier. The staff is all smiles now and 10, 12 hands are moving to and fro behind the counter. At that moment, a strange Earthling in sealskin boots enters and sits at the table next to me. He looks around at the crowd of regulars and asks me how he can order a meal.
I hurriedly explain to him in detail how he needs to go to the long sandwich counter, make his selection and then place his order. I readily recommend the generous smoked salmon sandwich on black bread, topped with thinly sliced red onions and a mix of dressed mesclun.
Oh, my! The incredibly handsome face of this man from the Great North spins me right around; his almond-shaped eyes are dark and pierce right through me. I look at him while he stands in line in front of the coffee machine; he appears even taller than a superhero.
My heart beats faster. My fingers are frozen on the keyboard. They hover over the space bar for so long that they even slice a nicely worded sentence in three. I close the iPad.
Where does this ecstatic female suddenly come from? What are these burning cheeks? Where has this racing heart been all her life; these eyes waltzing across the room, these arms stretching as far as the 55th parallel?
A pleasant waitress brings the newcomer his meal at the table where he’s seated. He takes off his parka and places his leather mittens under his chair.
The man looks straight at me and says “Inuktitut, my language. Am Inuit from Nunavik. My grandparents were living in an igloo.” And so on, so forth, this heavenly Thor of the Great North
chews and cobbles his English explaining to me that he came to my village to visit his wife’s parents.
— “Because new baby arrived last month.”
— “I understand. Congratulations on the baby!”
— “Thank you, Ma’am. I now have six children.”
My heart, lonely in its desolate Sahara, is getting desperate. For a brief, fragile moment, I had met great beauty, a magnificent face, the man of my dreams.
I love beauty, such as Michelangelo’s David, Milo’s armless Venus, Rodin’s Thinker and all the great masterpieces made by human genius. So naturally, I like well-made things and handsome men who are pleasing to the eye.
I must say in all honesty this man from the North Pole was particularly splendid. He embodied all the beauty and simplicity of the wind, snow, ice and sun.
— “Cawww, what a crush!” my friend the crow would say.
— “A total crush!” I would quickly reply.