Coffee, Interrupted

When I write this column I use my own stories and will go on and bore you about how I love books and music. These two loves connect with another love: coffee. I have a loose group of after-work coffee people on Fridays. Tim Horton’s is traditional after-work coffee. Starbucks or Second Cup mean I’m not at work.

I was at the Commerce Place Tim Horton’s ending what was a very good, cheerful day with some friendly co-workers. We spotted another co-worker and went to sit with him. Sitting behind us was a couple. The woman was blonde and I couldn’t see her face. It was like she couldn’t face people. The guy sitting with her jumped up angrily, saying that I had called him a rat and I was telling people he was a rat. I was taking my seat with my usual French Vanilla. I had been talking but I had not referred to him or used the word rat. Looking at this young guy I could see his pupils spinning. He was hearing voices in his head that weren’t necessarily there and certainly not mine. I responded that I don’t know him. My friends are stunned because I never get this kind of attention. The guy shoves me with both hands on my shoulders and sends me backwards to the floor. My friends get him to calm down as they were three to his lonely tantrum of one. When I got up and looked at him again he snapped back to his angry setting and shouted at me to leave, that I had better leave.

That annoyed me. I’m having coffee with my friends and this guy is a little younger than my son – I’m not about to accept his authority and leave. I know the look that came over my face when he told me to leave – it’s gotten me smacked before and this time it got me a punch in the face. So, I’m back on the floor and my first thought is to wonder if he broke my glasses. He didn’t, but he hit me hard enough to put a hole in my lower lip. The police were called and the responding officer showed me a picture she took of my face as we drank coffee while filling out statements. The couple had long run off. I wondered about that blonde girl and what troubles lay ahead for her with that manic boy.

It was a nine hour wait in emergency for three stitches on a busy Friday night. I did not like leaving my wife and cat hanging for so long while I got needed medical attention to close the hole in my mouth. I suppose the whole affair could have been much worse. The kid did not have any further intentions of doing damage. Maybe I’ll see him again when I go for coffee.

Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.

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