It was too warm outside for hot coffee drinks, but we got them anyway. Swirls of white created a heart in the center of my drink. It was not coffee; I hate coffee. The idea of coffee is wonderful, but the actual taste… not so wonderful.
I was with a boy. A sweet boy that gives me fake flowers and knows my favorite songs. We’ve been together for over a year.
We sat quietly at a table outside, neither of us having anything to say. I wasn’t thirsty and my drink was making the sun seem even hotter, but we needed to waste some time before leaving Atlanta.
I began to look around, trying to find some kind of inspiration to spark a conversation, when I saw them. A couple sitting at the table next to us. I could tell they had been dating for quite a while, if not married. For some reason I guessed they weren’t married. They talked for a few minutes, laughing and smiling smiles too big for their faces. I could practically see the happiness flowing out of them. They were cute. More than cute. They were the epitome of a hipster couple in Atlanta. She had dark hair and a nose ring. He had a beard and dark, faded jeans. They probably lived down the block. I watched her mouth the word “yes” and then pull a book out of her old backpack. She kicked off her red flats, crossed her ankles, and began to read. I imagined her doing this as a kid but never finding a reason to break the habit. When she got settled, her boyfriend pulled out a book of his own and began reading, pausing only to take small bites of his sandwich or sips of coffee. I expected to see them glance up at each other with small smiles like two teenagers stealing glances in class. But neither one of them looked up. Thats how I knew they had to of been together for a long time. They didn’t sit in an awkward silence, like the silence of a first date. They sat in mutual quietness. Alone, yet together.
She grinned at her book and nodded at parts she likes. The book was thick and small. He did the opposite. His face showed no expression towards the storyline. His book was large, but not as thick. He looked content. It seemed like if he could spend every day doing this, coming to a coffee shop to eat sandwiches and silently read with the girl he loves, everything would be okay.
I realize now that too many people are afraid of silence. Like if no one says anything, all the fear and damage might start to show. Somehow the stillness will become awkward instead of peaceful. But I think quiet is confidence. It is the art of being content. It is strength. It is beauty.
Sit in silence with someone you love.
A best friend, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your mom.
Do something quiet.
Read, paint, write, pick flowers, drink coffee, eat sandwiches.
Just enjoy the stillness and don’t worry about what might be showing.
Show all of you.
And kick off your shoes.