Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Finding Love in a Coffee Shop

The Statistical Probability of Finding Love in a Coffee Shop

by Me

Inspired by The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. 
And based on semi-true events.

She will come in one evening wearing a gray hat. The coffee shop will be full. People coming and going. Some might stop to notice the girl with the gray hat sitting alone. Most will be in a rush or a slow daze. They will only stop long enough to drink their coffee. Or perhaps spend all evening staring at a computer screen or reading a really good book. Either way, they will walk out of there completely unaware of the story that is beginning to unfold.

He will be there, greeting people warmly as they walk in the door and asking them if they are staying warm. He alone will create a welcome environment; one that people are unaware is because of him. She will notice him immediately. His disheveled hair and beat up sneakers will catch her eye and his adorable smile will hold it.

Other than her ordering a Mexican hot chocolate and him telling her to stay warm, the two will say nothing to each other. But she will think about him and he will be grateful for the large tip that the girl in the gray hat left. And she will return the next night and the night after that.

The girl will walk through the door and the boy will greet her like any other. Both will know that when they say hello and meet each other's gaze that they are saying more than hi. He will have thought about the way she sat, twirling her hair around her finger and the way she always orders a Mexican Hot Chocolate. She will think of the way he asked her what her favorite word is and the way he confided in her that he was feeling ornery. Their hello will be like a secret spoken between best friends who are really just two strangers.

He will begin to guess the exact time she will walk through the door. Instead of waiting to be seated, she will walk in take the table that he will start to reserve for only her. Without ordering, he will walk over with her drink, remembering to go light on the whipped cream. One day, he will bring her a complimentary piece of cake.

She will stop coming on Wednesdays, his only night off. When they both return on Thursday evening, she will ask him how he spent his night of freedom. And he will assume she didn't come either, asking her in return what she did instead.

Soon, he will know what she does for a job. And she will know how he spends his days. She will tell him about her family. He will skirt the issue of his.

She will make the evening of work bearable for him. And he will make the day of work unbearable for her. 

He will begin to spend less time talking with the other customers and forget to bring people their drinks, his mind too focused on the girl in the gray hat. She will start to notice the way he watches her as he counts a man's change five times before ultimately getting it wrong.

She will start to read the books he suggests and he will smile when he sees her furrow her brow halfway through The Brothers Karmazov as she reaches his favorite part. He will ask her about it and her cheeks will redden as she tells him how much she loved it, thanking him for the suggestion even though she has read it twice.

He will play her favorite band on the loud speakers, singing along with the chorus, always off key even though he actually has a nice singing voice.

She will wonder what he is like outside the coffee shop. Who is he when he is not working? He will wonder the same. Who is this girl who spends all of her time in the coffee shop that until she showed up, he hated?

Then one evening, she won't be there. He will wait for her. He will seat people anywhere but her table. But she won't come. He will expect her the next day, but she won't be there. And on the third day, he will give someone her table. It won't be until the fourth night that he will wonder if she is gone. He will dread work again and the hours that not only are spent waiting on grumpy people but without her. He will wonder if he will ever see her again.

A week later, she will come back. Her hair will be lighter and her cheeks red from sun. He will have already given up her table but will seat her quickly at another. She will tell him that she went to Florida with her brother and his wife. They visited Harry Potter World and he will smile as he makes a joke about her belonging in Hufflepuff even though he really thinks she belongs in Gryffindor. She will smile at his smile, having missed him every day she was gone.

I wondered if you had found a new place to get your hot chocolate, he will say. To which she will respond somewhat boldly, I don't come here for the hot chocolate. She will have realized while away that she missed him enough to risk the bold statements.

It will be the phrase to start it all.

The next night she will patiently wait as he ushers people out quickly at closing. Before she begins to pack up her own bag, he will ask if she wants to get a drink at the bar across the street. She will check her watchless wrist as she bites her lip to hide the grin then nod in agreement.

He will try to clean up as quickly as he can. His coworker noting the rushed look on his face will offer to close down and he will agree even though he knows this employee will take cash from the register.

They will go across the street and sit at a booth in a dark corner. At first, neither will say anything. They have never seen each other anywhere but the coffee shop and suddenly it will seem that the magic is lost.

But when he asks her what she wants, she will laugh at the familiarity of it. Then she will get up and ask the same of him. Tonight, I take your order, she will say.

They will smile at each other with equal amounts of nerves and amusement. But both will see the look in the other's eyes. A look they are sure matches their own. He will love the ambiguous color of her eyes and she will fall for the one dimple in his left cheek. They will cover nothing important yet have the best conversation of their lives. She will tell him about all of her big, illogical dreams. And he will tell her something he has never told anyone.

At some point, he will reach across the table and push a stray hair behind her ear. Her leg will accidentally brush up against his and when she moves hers away, his will move so that they touch again. By the time that they leave and he walks her home, it will seem natural for him to take her hand and her fingers to entwine with his. But once she reaches her door and pulls back, her keys instead of his hand now occupying her cold fingers, neither will know what to do next.

Well, I guess I will see you tomorrow, he will say with a question in his voice. She will nod, disappointed, but unlock her door and walk in with one last wave. Once inside, the memories from the night will replay in her head. And she will realize she didn't even give him her number. There is always tomorrow in their coffee shop. She will worry that things will be different now.

As she considers this, the buzzer will ring and she will go to answer it. On the other side of the door, he will be waiting. Pacing back and forth. She will open the door and he will hold up a gray hat with a sheepish grin.

Thanks, she will say, letting her fingers touch his as she takes that hat from his hands. His smile will slip from his face as he stares at her. Before she can go back inside, he will pull her to him and kiss her. In that moment, all of the nights she will have spent deciding what to wear and the nights he made himself come to work instead of quitting, will have been worth it.

Life is a series of moments that all begin with a simple choice. 
Tonight, he will cover someone's shift after they get a flat tire on the way to work.
And when she heads out the door, she will realize it is cold and decide to wear her gray hat.

And that is where their story will begin. 


  1. OMG. This is utterly beautiful!!! You know that feeling that you get in your stomach when you read something romantic or watching a Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks film? Those butterflies? That's how I felt reading this. Your writing style is so amazingly beautiful!!!!! Now I'm trying to imagine what it'll be like for them, whether or not she will still come to the coffee shop, and how their relationship plays out.

    This is so so so good! I want to read more!!!! I love the inspiration too, The Statistical is a brill book!

  2. I cannot wait for the rest of this story to unfold. I support this story.


  4. OK. Love it nik! Love it love it love it!

  5. Reminds me a whole lot of the indie movie "My Blueberry Nights." If you haven't seen it, you ought.


Questions? Comments? Snide remarks?