In Cafe Norte

unnamed
Many voices, the rumble of trains
pulling into and leaving Sapporo’s
main railroad station. Two people
sitting next to me eat soft ice-cream
cones while checking their cellphones.

I look around at the tables, most of
them occupied by travelers or people
like me, a quiet place, filled with conversation.
Nearby, a ten-year-old boy in a bright orange
jacket eats a soft ice-cream cone and smiles.

Once an eighty year old woman asked me if
I spoke English, and I said yes. As we talked,
she said she was widowed and lonely, and
and seemed sad when I told her I am married.
Checking her watch, and looking sad, she

excused herself, saying she had to leave to
meet a grandson. “It’s a pleasure to have met
you,” I said as she walked away. It’s lonely
when we’re old and lose someone we love,
and hard to take. Sighing, I pick up my coffee

cup and discover that my coffee, once hot,
has cooled. Shall I buy another cup? I decide
not to and, taking my cane, stand and take
the cup to where dirty dishes go, then leave.
The boy in the orange coat smiles as I walk by

and licks his lips. Tomorrow, without fail I will return,
buy another cup of coffee and a small bowl of
ice cream and enjoy myself. I’m glad I have this
place to sit and look and listen and dream of
people and places I’ve known, and every once

in a while
fall into
conversation
with someone
new.

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