Friday, January 8, 2010

Best Possible Outcome

I am going to try to get this post together as quickly and as coherently as possible. That might be a challenge, considering that I left the house at 6:45 AM and have just returned at about 11:30 PM. I spent the day taking Eric's mom to get her heart catheterization procedure re-done so that the surgeon could check the stent. It could have been a half-day trip, but the entry site at her artery wasn't clotting or something, so a couple of nurses took turns applying pressure. When they got the bleeding to stop, Eric's mom had to spend 6 hours flat on her back. Yeah. No moving, no lifting the head, no sitting up… complete and ridiculously difficult bed rest. I probably couldn't have done it for 5 minutes.

She really didn't want us hanging around with her all day, so we took some time to drive around and explore the small downtown areas nearby. I showed Eric the house that I lived in until I was in first grade and the church parking lot where I tried to learn how to ride a tricycle. We went to a local library and tried to read. We drove to a town about 20 minutes away and got some dinner. We went back to the hospital and checked on her. It was a rough way to spend a day, in its own way. I was so tired that I wanted nothing more than to just relax for a few minutes. Have you ever tried to relax in a hospital waiting room? Wow. So not possible.

Anyway. We were on the home stretch before we could pick her up from the hospital, so we decided to go kill an hour or so at a local coffee shop down the street from the hospital. We had even stopped in earlier to ask when they would be closing, and, lo and behold, they were closed at least an hour earlier than the owner said. Around the corner, I saw that the only place open was a little Greek place. The window said, "PIZZA-SUBS-GYROS." More importantly, the hours said that they closed at 10 PM. I just knew that we could sit in there and grab a cup of coffee.

Neither of us was too sure. From the street, it looked like a bunch of kids in black jackets were all congregated right by the door. We didn't want to deal with a little band of wannabe thugs. As we stood across the street, Eric kind of wincing at the thought of going in, I said, "Let's just check it out. We'll go in, check it out the vibe, and see if they even serve coffee. Things aren't always what they seem to be."

We walked in, and immediately a smiling man with curly black hair appeared in front of us. "Hi Guys! Just two for dinner?" He was already behind the counter, grabbing menus. Eric said, "Actually…ah… do you serve coffee here?" Meanwhile, I was rubbing my gloved hands together because it was freezing outside.

"Oh, you're so cold! Guys, sit down, I will bring you coffees. I'm gonna make you a fresh pot, OK?"

We both nodded and smiled and thanked him. A few minutes later, we had steaming hot coffees on little square saucers in front of us. Moments later, Mr. Black Hair Smiley Guy brought out a small lit oil candle and placed it on the table between Eric and me. He said, "here's a little something to help keep you warm."

And, at that, I nearly cried. I can't convey the sweetness and the hospitality of this man in writing. It was in his energy, his movements, the tone of his voice, and his sweet smile. He was busy doing other things around the place, but every time he came within a few feet of us, we were the only things on his mind. We spent $3.16.

And for that, I got the hospitality I had been longing for all day. I got the few moments of rest I had so desperately craved. I got special added touches, undivided attention, and a feeling that we had just consumed the best possible cup of coffee on the entire planet.