Following Detours

Life was pretty normal, structured. I like predictable, no surprises. As an accountant for 30 years, I guess it’s an occupational hazard. I think that’s why I like numbers – you can count on them. They’re ever steady, reliable. I live my life by the numbers, so to speak, every day running like a Swiss clock.

However, this daily routine started with an immediate slow down. My expensive cappuccino machine died, so I need to take a detour and get my morning coffee. Coffee is my big vice. I love everything about it. The aroma fills the air with the rich abundant smell. I always wondered what it would be like to lay in a field of coffee beans. And the flavor bathes your tongue in a warm blanket of smooth creamy milk mixed
with a little sweetness and savory espresso shot to welcome your tastebuds. I guess I’m having a relationship with coffee and I am very particular. I drink the same blend, always.

The coffee shop near my office made a decent cappuccino, but on my way there, I was stopped by a picket line on strike for better working conditions. There were signs everywhere about unfair wages, cheap management, and lousy health care. Anytime I saw these types of protests, I was just glad to work at a stable company that offered excellent benefits. But the large gathering blocked the street and the coffee shop, so I detoured a few blocks down the road. Siri said there was a coffee shop
there who boasted the perfect cappuccino. I’ll be the judge of that.

I found The Coffee Bean a few minutes later and unbelievably lucked into a parking spot right in the front. The sign said it was free parking at this time and day. That never happens. I went into the small shop. It was quaint and offered several different cappuccino blends.

““You don’t have just a straight cappuccino?”I ask the barista across the counter.
“That’s no fun,” she laughed. “It takes a true vision to take something great and make it unique”
“I guess, what’s your most popular blend,” I grunted a little. I just wanted a regular normal cappuccino.
“It’s a matter of taste,” she explained. “Sweet and salty has a shot of salty caramel. Dicey Spicy adds nutmeg and cinnamon and Nutty about Numbers includes three nut flavors in the mix. But my favorite is my personal Fruitti Tutti blend with a hint of orange and cranberry juices, instead of sugar.

“I don’t like too much sugar or spice. I’ll take the nutty one… to go,” I decided.
I sat at the counter looking around the room. People from table to table were talking to each other, laughing. The different scents whiffed through the air, permeating every square inch in the place. It felt warm and inviting.

I grabbed the to-go cup and looked at my watch. I was going to be late anyway, as I had to traverse the obstacles on my way back to the office. So I threw caution to the wind and stayed. Cappuccino is always best hot and fresh.

I took a sip. It was wonderful. The textured layers of the additional nut blend gave way to the subtlety of the creamy, sweet taste. This coffee was good. In fact, it was the best I ever tasted. I stopped and sipped some more and looked around again. I listened to a few conversations. They weren’t talking about much. The weather, gardening, kids; no one was shattering the earth. Some were funny and some were serious, but it wasn’t about what they were saying, it was them. They were enjoying each other’s
company. Slowing down and taking the time to hear each other’s stories. It was chaotic and pleasant at the same time.

“They can be a little raucous at times, but it’s a community,” the barista smiled. “I’m going to miss it.”

She pointed to the “For Sale” sign in the window. It was like a beacon, a spotlight to another world. She explained that she had to care for her sick mother in another part of the country.

I couldn’t believe my own thoughts. I couldn’t. Yes I could. No I couldn’t. But I could. I wrestled with my own mind. Before I knew what happened, I blurted out – “I’ll take it!”

“Another coffee?” the barista asked.
“No,” I said confidently. “I’ll buy the shop. Yes, I want to buy this coffee shop! And oh I’ll take another coffee too. Give me that spicy one this time.”

That was a year ago. I quit my job and used my savings to buy the shop. And I haven’t regretted one minute. I’m even experimenting with some new blends. Who knew, life happens when you follow detours.

Published by suzanneruddhamilton

I write anything from novels and children's books to plays to relate and retell everyday life experiences in a fun-filled read with heart, hope and humor. A former journalist and real estate marketing expert, I am a transplant from Chicago, now happily living in southwest Florida to keep warm and sunny all year round. You can find me at www.suzanneruddhamilton.com

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