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Humanity in a Coffee Shop 

Caroline Stanton

1. “I’ll get your coffee.” 

She’s pregnant. She rubs her stomach as he gets up to grab her coffee. She looks tired. He looks caring. His massive form gently hands her a steaming cup of coffee. He kneels at her feet and listens as she talks. It’s a love so pure, they must be this endearing all the time. My imagination can color in the gaps of the rest of their life. They are living my dream. 

2. “Do you want anything?” 

They are young. She wears a sparkly engagement ring on her finger. Both look a little sleepy as they glance over the food in the display. She picks out a lemon loaf. He steals a bite. 

3. “A covalent bond is formed when the two half-filled orbitals from each atom 

Women in STEM. Women supporting women. The younger woman hangs her head, coming narrowly close to lying on the massive textbook. The older woman leans in, staring her dead in the eye. Keep going, she seems to say. You have something to prove. The weight of the 21st century is on her shoulders. 

4. “Kenny!” 

He stands there alone. Waiting. She comes in. See him. They light up the room. He opens his arms to her. They kiss. He buys her coffee. His hand on her back. She looks nice. She dressed up for him, she asks if he thinks she's pretty. He smiles and kisses the top of her head. He might not stay forever. This seems brief. 

5. Watching her read 

She is engrossed in a book, a novel of some sorts. He is starting out the window, but then his eyes wander over to her. He watches. She doesn’t know. His expression remains neutral, I  cannot tell if it is love or disdain. He pulls out a notebook. He writes. What is he writing? Maybe he is bemoaning his lot of mortality. 

6. “Iced, Ristretto, 10 shot, venti, with breve, 5 pump vanilla, 7 pump caramel, 4 
Splenda, poured, not shaken!” 


He has busy hands. He is not able to even see who picks up his latest creation, already moving onto the next. He knows all the drinks by heart, nothing phases him anymore. He has a master’s degree in architecture, yet he works here. Is he happy? Surely making coffee in a 5X5 square is not his dream. There is nothing more to his life than the pursuit of money. A soul trapped in toxic capitalism. 

7. Thinking 

I am watching them. They don’t know I’m watching them. I feel like I know them. I think I could love them. We don’t look at each other. How human we all are. We cry and rejoice, and we plot and plan, and we fail. We are all under this same roof for now, for this brief moment in time. 

8. I will never see them again 

Do I care? Why do they matter to me? Do they mean anything to me? 

9. “You can’t have a lemon loaf. We already ate.” 

A mother and a daughter. I feel like I know them. Well, I know the daughter. I’ve never related to a mother. But perhaps I am the daughter. She is really no different than me. We are both made of 63% water. Our mothers tell us what we can and cannot eat. And both of us will one day become our mothers. We are both trapped to the same fate. Beauty is our currency in life. But not in death. 

10. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 

We are eternal souls walking this earth for such a short while. God has set eternity on our hearts, so why do we not treat each other as though we are all immortal souls? Do they know? Do they care? Do I care? 

11. “She’s such an idiot. I hate her. She’s not even pretty.” 

Boys will be boys. 13, 14 maybe. When does human hatred start? It must be something we are born with. We cannot be taught to hate. Maybe to ignore is better. There is no harm in pretending you don’t know someone, pretending you don’t see them. At least they don’t know you hate them. Hate is ok as long as it is disguised as love. Honesty is the worst trait. Never tell a woman how you feel about her. Just pretend you don’t see her. She won’t mind. 

12. Someone just looked at me. 

Look down, look down, look down, look down. I’m busy. I wasn’t watching you. I don’t care about you. 

13. “Livin’ in ruins of a palace within my dreams. And you know, we’re on each other’s 

The tinny song above plays through round speakers. No one is even listening to it. It’s telling us that we are in this together, that we are on each other’s team, but we don’t care. No one is listening to it. 

14. "Bless us, O Lord, for these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy 
bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen." 

It’s so beautiful that some people can’t even eat an egg sandwich without thanking the Creator of the Universe. They cross themselves and then eat just like everyone else. They know they are eternal souls, and they know that everyone they see is living in their inescapable mortal bodies. Why do we act like we don’t see each other? If there is a God who sees us all, why do we only choose to see those who light up the rooms, who charm our human flesh? Humanity has a soul. We ignore it while we pray to the God who created it. 

15. I wish it wasn’t like this. It could be so much better. 

We could really see each other. We could strive to escape the trap that humanity tries to inflict on us, the trap of apathy and cruelness. The human spirit was made for so much more than just doing all day, than just existing all day. Our souls yearn to learn, to connect, to see, to be. We don’t. We hold back from our deepest desires, we miss out on the stories of those around us. How much our lives would change if we listened. If instead of watching other people live out their lives through a digital screen, we watched people live out their lives right in front of us. If we read people like stories instead of spiraling into fictional worlds that don’t exist. 


The coffee shop hums with humanity. 

It buzzes with souls. 

Just listen. 







Caroline Stanton is an English education student at Cedarville University. She is an Eastern shore girl doing her best to survive in the Midwest and loves seafood, reading, writing, hammocking, and coloring. Her dream is to see the world and write meaningful pieces about the people in it. This is her debut creative nonfiction publication. 

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