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  • Rebecca Elliott

an afternoon at jenning's

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

Feb.16.2019. ----- San Diego, Calif.


After an experience yesterday, I want to stop wearing headphones in public places. Here’s why, and here’s what I jotted down about it.

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I’m sitting in a coffee shop next to a busy road. The furniture inside is old-fashioned, almost eerie if not for the warm afternoon light filtering through the white-curtained windows. I have one earphone in, about to put in the other when I hear, “are you a college student, my friend?”


The voice, friendly and inquisitive, carries a thick accent. Greek, perhaps. He looks at me through wired glasses, his gray hair peppered with a touch of black, remnants of his fading youth. Wrinkles hug the corners of his eyes and bookend his lips. Even without the smile lines, I could guess he’s a happy guy.


He guesses what year I am, second-year. We chat about what I’m studying and he tells me to keep up the good work. It’s strange. I just met this human, I didn’t even get his name, and yet I feel so deeply encouraged by his words, by the ease with which he reached out to me. I listen to him and his companion, also an older man with the same thick accent, talk about their daily troubles.


“Now what’s wrong with your car?” the first man says shaking his head at his friend, “you have a drunken car. Or maybe it’s just you. You are a bad driver.”

They bicker lightly, a habitual occurrence between two old friends. I’m smiling now, wondering how. How can these strangers bring me such pure joy in mere moments?

This is the magic of humans. This is the beauty hidden in the dusty corners of the world.

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© 2020 by Rebecca Midori Elliott