Jotting in my notebook before the weekly visit to the library, I looked up from the table in the tile-floored café I visit once a week, and noticed a dark-haired woman at a marble-topped table to the left of me scribbling away too. To keep her cloth-bound journal open, she curved her left arm, resting her palm on the top of the book; her shoulders tilted away from the yellow wall to her right. A bulging red-leather purse hung from a silver hook she had balanced on the edge of the table; a thick paperback book lay face down, abutting her coffee cup.
Perched at the same table I snag whenever it is available, her chair backed up to the two-piece, wooden hutch shelved with a patchwork of colorful real estate brochures. Facing out, toward the stained-glass loaves of French bread embedded in the picture window, she leaned over, forcing the spine open as her pen skipped across blue-lined pages. Once I realized she was there, I peered over my shoulder every few minutes, trying to gauge what she was writing. Each time I looked, her eyes remained down, focusing on a growing river of ink before her.
At the end, after glancing at my watch, I closed my own notebook, pushed my arms through the sleeves of my barn jacket and peeked over to her one more time. Her pen had stopped. She gazed toward the window with narrowed eyes, pursing her lips in concentration. Smiling, I imagined a cartoon balloon of crossed-off words floating above her head. I could almost feel the tiny synapse cannons in her brain firing multiple rounds, the thickening smoke of ideas forming and building, the volley that would travel across an empty valley and land, after I closed the wooden door behind me, on just the right phrase.
When I gave her a little grin, she flushed and ducked back down to her book.