(This is just a few of the many colorful customers who wander into the place whenever I am there. I am covering them here, so when I mention them later on, I don’t have to divert from the main story to explain who they are.)
I. James Branch
His name isn’t really James Branch, but he reminds me so much of the Kissing in Manhattan character that that’s who I regularly refer to him as. Like his namesake, he is quiet, shy, humble, and modestly good-looking. He comes, without fail, every Saturday (and sometimes Sunday), ordering a coffee and two doughnuts to go along with the book he reads in his armchair by the fireplace.
April just dotes on him. She’ll put on her brightest smile and ask in a voice dripping with honey, “So, what’s the book this week?” He’ll give her his shy smile, but never reciprocates, and so we love him all the more. I think everyone knows a James Branch, or wishes they knew one. In all honesty, I hardly know the guy. Maybe I’ve been cornering him into a character he doesn’t fit. But none of that matters, except that he is our resident aloof man-candy, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. 🙂
If DD was Le Cirque (Le Cirque will probably sue me now, just for making this analogy.), he would be the VIP. He has his own special plastic tray (a relic from when DD must have used trays like McDonald’s), and always expects top-notch service. A French cruller, or sometimes a croissant, toasted for five seconds and a coffee with five sugars and three creamers on the side. From the description thus far, Ron seems like a terrible hypocritical elitist, but really, he’s a harmless old man in a scratchy vest, who we love and never tire of serving.
The very first time I met him, he peered at me and asked me why he didn’t know me.
“I’m new,” I said.
“New?” he replied, positively alarmed. “Every time I walk in here now, everyone is new!”
I apologized, and shuffled out of there with his croissant.
“There’s a guy who wants his croissant toasted for FIVE seconds,” I whispered to Josh with fear plainly written across my face.
“Oh, you mean Ron,” he said, walking up to the front. They greeted each other like long-lost friends, and I couldn’t help but fight back my jealousy. You see, Ron is the kind of person you can’t help but want to impress. He’s a tough critic, but a softie when he’s finally come to appreciate you.
Last Sunday, he walked in and I had his usual there for him without him having to utter a single word.
“Hey, you’re coming along there!” he said, before taking his seat next to the window. Coming from him, it was possibly the greatest compliment he could give.
A thousand “yes!”s seemed to sound off in my head and under his stern gaze, I couldn’t help but beam.