One morning last week I was running typically behind and in need of some caffeinated charging to center my soul and put me back on track, but the average morning French-Press-at-the-desk just wasn’t appealing. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and the atypical Spring day in Portland was calling. I had only been clocked in to work for two minutes when I clocked back out, grabbed my coat and headed into the sunshine.
Just a block and a half from my office is a little coffee shop. It has an eclectic grouping of chairs and a clientele to match. I nearly skipped into the door, anticipating my made-to-order frothy cappuccino to-go.
The little bell rang as I walked in.
“Oh, My Goodness! Oh, my goodness!”
A man stood in front of me. His disheveled look and tattered clothes placed him just out from the nearby homeless shelter, the day having started and the beds empty until evening.
He was looking straight at me.
“Hello!” He said as he walked up closer.
“Hi!” I responded with cheer to match the gorgeous day.
I turned to look at the solo barista behind the counter. She frothed some milk and ground some beans without looking back to me.
Standing at the counter awaiting my turn to interrupt her artistry with another commissioned drink order, I noticed the homeless man continued starring and smiling at me. As I smiled back he lowered himself down onto one knee and said, “Will you marry me?”
The barista prepared another espresso shot.
The glimmer in his eyes was endearing. This 50-something year-old-man with just a few crooked, stained teeth and the age of the streets in his wrinkles just proposed to me.
I giggled a little and with all sweetness and sincerity said, “I don’t think so, but thank you.” To which he responded, “Do you know of any good dentists?” While still on bended knee.
I laughed out-loud and told him I did not. He finally got up.
Almost any man who had just had a proposal rejected would have walked away hurt and/or embarrassed, especially in such a public place, but my new friend was not your average man. “You have incredibly beautiful eyes,” he said as he leaned against the counter beside me. His hand reached out as if he were going to place it on my shoulder, but he stopped just before it did. I smiled and said thank you as I signed my debit slip. “Would you like to dance?” He asked.
I don’t remember the song that was playing, but it was an old, upbeat song that makes you want to do The Twist, so we danced something that looked a little bit like The Twist for a minute until he stopped and said, “This doesn’t have a very good beat.”
The barista comped him a piece of fruit and told me that he comes in almost every morning, and every morning is in a great mood.
I left as he started making the rounds to other people in the place, discussing the day and what they were ordering. I noticed he didn’t propose to any one else.