The man at Burger King sits alone. His once hot coffee has run out of warm. But I don’t think he’s noticed. Occasionally, he sips from the paper cup and exhales loudly after swallowing. Gray-brown teeth, stained with what I imagine to be a mixture of coffee and nicotine, show as he moves his mouth.
He sits alone.
And, yet, he talks. His eyes looking at a person across the table from him. A person I cannot see. But, I’m convinced, he sees the other clearly. He even breaks in his speech to listen to the person I cannot see. Thoughtful pauses. He nods his head. Smiles. Laughs. The person I cannot see must have a sense of humor that delights the man. He even tosses his head back and claps, pointing at the person I cannot see.
Does he really see someone sitting there? Does he love that person? Is it a person who he once knew, in real life? Someone who is now gone, except for in his mind?
As I walk past the man, he sips again from his paper cup. Giggles. Points to the person I cannot see and says, “That was a good one”.
And I wonder more.
Could that be me? Someday. Alone at Burger King, drinking tepid coffee, talking to someone very real to me. A person the world cannot see.