Daily Journey Journal #107: familiar strangers

“Excuse me. Sorry to intrude, but your name wouldn’t happen to be Priscella, would it?”

Ela set down her book and smiled up at the elderly man standing next to her table.

“I sure am,” she said.

The man’s face shed its mask of apprehension, the well-worn wrinkles lifting his cheeks into a smile.

“You are exactly how they described you to me,” he said, his words beginning to bump into one another in his happiness.

Ela laughed. “You aren’t a thing like they described you to me,” she said. “But I kind of like that.”

The man tipped back his head, his deep laughter filling the small nook where the table sat in the window.

“I like you already,” he said. “May I sit?”

“I don’t see why not,” Ela said, shifting her purse from the chair to her lap.

The man sat down and they smiled at one another for a moment. His eyes were bright, filled with wonder at the sight of her face.

“Shall I place our order?” Ela asked, sensing that he would be content to stare at her all afternoon.

He blinked. “You haven’t even asked what I like yet.”

“I know your type.” Ela winked. “Straight up black coffee. No cream. No sugar.”

His laughter surrounded them again and he nodded his agreement.

Discreetly, Ela pulled her phone from her bag as she got up.

“Back in a jiffy,” she said.

She waited until she was out of sight from the table then placed the call.

“He’s here,” she said. “He found me.”

“Oh, thank heavens.”

“Everything is fine,” Ela said. “Relax now or you’ll give yourself a heart attack.”

“Can’t do that. Worrying, always worrying. Thank God he recognizes your face still. Don’t know what we’d do otherwise.”

“Gram,” Ela said gently. “It’s not my face he recognizes. It’s your face he sees.”

The line grew silent except from the soft, deep breathing that comes with quiet tears.

“You aren’t lost to him yet, Gram,” Ela said. “I’ll bring him back to you, don’t worry.”

 

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