Coffee (Part 10)

acorns autumn autumn decoration autumn leaves

Photo by Caleb Wood on


The next several months were amazing. There were no nights spent together but there were mornings, afternoons and evenings that brought so much joy to both Harper and Micheal. Robin and her family moved to New England, Charles was driving, spending more time with his friends than he did at home. Harper spent Christmas in South Carolina with Micheal and his family. They loved her and she loved them. It had been a year since their first coffee date, it had been a good year. Harper stood looking over the Great Miami River from the window of her apartment. She had spent the morning packing boxes, preparing for the days ahead when she and Micheal would be married, moving into a new home and enjoying the next level of life. One year ago, Harper would have never guessed that she would meet anyone she could love so much, so completely or that he would love her the same. If she was being honest loved always seemed more like an illusion to Harper, something that people wanted so badly that they created it in their own minds, for their comfort. Love is real, she knew that now.

Micheal couldn’t believe he was selling his house. The home he made with his wife and child. The place he learned to truly love others and himself. Everything was so surreal right now. Charles would graduate this year and be off to college on the fall, he was getting married to an amazing woman, staring a new life, they were renting and saving for now but in the fall they would be relocating to another city. He was opening his own business, Harper would help him run it while also pursuing her other interests. Life had never been so scary, yet so exciting. The wedding would be small, his parents Harper’s sister and husband. The honeymoon was the real adventure,  a 30-day tour of Europe. Then back home to enjoy their new life together where anything could happen. All because he had to take the bus to work one day and on that same day he dared to have a cup of coffee.


Coffee Part 9

So how was your trip?

Its was okay. My sister is thinking of selling the house and moving to New England. I think its a good idea, she is not so sure.

hmmm. Would you stay here if she does go? I know you two are close.

I’ve thought about that and I don’t know. I like my life here and its possibilities. So maybe not. How are things going with you?

Lets see. Charles passed his drivers test, I have to travel for work for the next 2 weeks, going to Europe to look at some pieces. Charles is leaving to see his other grandparents when I get back. That’s about it.

That’s exciting. Nothing like the rush of being a new driver. Where do his other grandparents live?

Vancouver. They retired out there. The climate is reasonable and it doesn’t snow much. Have you ever been to Europe?

Harper wasn’t sure how to answer the question. Where was he going with this. It has been six months since they’d met, was he asking her to accompany him on a business trip? To Europe. They hadn’t even spent the night locally, how could they travel together?

Ummm, I studied in Portugal for a semester in college but that’s it.

You sound nervous. I am not asking you to come, unless you want to?

No, no I don’t think we are ready for that. We haven’t even spent the night together yet.

Is that a problem, I can fix that.

Harper chuckled. We’re good.

Okay, but just know…

I know. I also know that when I’m with you I’m happy. I like that.

I make you happy?

You make me want to share my happy with the world.

It was just a look, but the way Michael looked at Harper made her body tense and relax multiple times in a minute. She wasn’t ready for nights spent together and hadn’t quite decided if that would even be a part of their relationship but yeah, he made her happy and she was sure he was capable of making her even more happy.

Coffee (Part 8)

Dad! I passed. I’m a licensed driver. Can I get a car? Can we go looking today? Can I borrow your car to go out with my friends tonight?

Young man, slow down there is a difference between passing a drivers test and really knowing how to drive. Baby steps. And as previously agreed upon, I will help you pay for your car. You have to get a job and work for it. You are not required to work until 18 but if you want a job before then…

Dad, you’re killin’ my buzz.

You better not have a buzz.


Harper was enjoying her time in Louisville with her family. She always enjoyed seeing her niece and nephew but this time her sister was different. Normally Robin was a bit overbearing. Every day well planned and it was expected that they stick to the schedule. This weekend had more of a “we’ll see what the day brings” type of feel, Harper wasn’t sure of what to make of it.

I’m glad you came down this weekend. I wanted to talk to you…in person.


Robin let out a big sigh. We’re thinking of selling the house and moving to the New England area. I’ll enjoy the cooler temperatures, the kids will get a better public-school education and Randy will be closer to his parents, they are getting older you know. I wanted to talk to you about it because this is our parents house, I thought you should have some input.

Selling their parents’ house was a big thing. Robin was determined to keep it after their parents’ death, she was only 19 at the time but found the money to hire an estate lawyer to make sure the house became her property.

Is this what you really want or is this just what makes sense?

Honestly, I don’t know. It does make sense, all our reasons for moving are the “right” reasons but I don’t know if I can just walk away.

Its been 23 years, are you really just walking away? You’ve done a great job taking care of me and your family. The house is well cared for, you will get the highest market value for it. Why continue to hold on to that small piece of the past. I know you loved our parents, I did too but at some point you have to move on from Louisville and accept that honoring their memory is displayed just as much in taking care of your family as it is in maintaining their home and working in the local community.

I know. I guess for me letting go of the house feels like I am letting go of them.

Yeah. But they are deep in our hearts, its impossible for either of us to let go.


Dad, I think mom would have bought me a car.

I think your beautiful mother, God rest her soul, would have made you pay half. Still she would be very proud of you. On the phone telling everybody and probably planning a party.

She did like parties.

She did, and she loved you.

It was moments like these that Michael really missed his wife. She was such a loving person, a great mother and she helped him become the man he is now. They met when he was 16, she was 15. Only a few months younger than him but still younger, her dad didn’t like that. She was so smart, he’d needed help with chemistry. Their school had this program for student tutors and she was assigned to help him pass the one class he was failing. Truth is he was just getting by in many of his classes but after a few sessions with her he looked at school completely different. He wanted to be more than Mr. Popular, he wanted to be good enough to hang with her. Eventually they started going to school activities together and then she was pregnant. It didn’t stop her though, she finished college with an engineering degree and was working her way up the engineering ladder at Duke Energy. She encouraged him to go to college, it wasn’t really something he had thought about before. She was with him when he bought and sold his first piece, he absolutely loves what he does and hates that he can’t share it with her. He’ll never not love her; the question is can he love someone else in addition to his wife. Ready or not he was about to find out.

Coffee (Part 7)

Coffee beans

7am comes fast when you’re up until after 3 but Harper still had to get up. She promised her sister she would spend the weekend in Louisville with her and the kids. Robin was Harpers older sister, she was married, her husband was overseas right now, they had two kids, Zora and Langston. It was hard going home to Louisville; the whole city was full of painful memories. When Harper graduated high school, she couldn’t get out of the city fast enough. She found a paralegal program in a city four hours away and didn’t go back, not even to visit until the twins were born. She couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be an aunt. Harper loved kids, she wasn’t sure she would ever have any of her own, so she spoiled her niece and nephew as much and as often as possible.

It was just about 10:00 am when Harper arrived in Louisville, she’d make a quick stop by Sweet Peaches for breakfast and then off to her sisters. One just did not deal with Robin on an empty stomach.

Oh, its my sweet little sister, I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever. You look terrible, whats going on here?

I was out until 3am and still got up at 7 to drive three hours to see you. Where are the kids?

School. I had them go today so we could have a “sisters date day”. Umm, out until 3am? Doing what and with whom. And why are you driving with only four hours of sleep, you are going through mountains at 70 miles an hour, that’s just not safe.

I know. Harper smiled at the memory of the night before.

Okay. I’ll assume by your smile that a man had you out until 3am so…?

I need a nap.

Nope, we have facials at one, followed by a mani-pedi, a stop by the smoothie bar and then off to pick up the kids.

It’s 11:15.

Forty-five minutes, then we out and you can tell me about this man.
* * *
Michael lay in bed staring at the ceiling. He’d barley slept because he could not stop thinking about last night. He was truly smitten with Harper, he wasn’t quite sure what it was but she captivated him. He hadn’t felt this way about a woman since his wife died five years ago. He never seriously thought he would love anyone as much as he’d loved his wife, yet here he was mesmerized by Harper.
Dad! You up?
Awww man, today is test day. Michael had completely forgotten Charles was scheduled to take his driving test today. Teenage boys and their need to drive. Michael wasn’t ready.
We’re out the door in 20 minutes. Make the coffee.
* **
So about this man?
Harper and Ryan were at The Juice Bar enjoying a “healthy” smoothie. Chocolate raspberry that tasted more like chalk to Harper but whatever, Robin was paying.
His name is Michael, he’s 33, has a 16 year old son and his wife died five years ago.
33? Oh, a young man. Nice. And where did you meet him?
On the bus. Harper paused for dramatic effect. His car was in the shop, he is a buyer for J. Evans.
Yes. Last night he took me to the unveiling of the new collection at DAI then we had dinner at The Pine Club and then went salsa dancing after which we walked around downtown and talked. It was so nice.
I like that he has a nice job, but he is seven years younger than you and has a teenage son. Are you ready for that?
We are not getting married, we’ve only known one another for a month.
I know but sometimes these things move fast. You have to be prepared.
Harper sighed, she absolutely hated the way people tried to turn everything into a dramatic affair. People didn’t just let life happen anymore, everyone was over prepared for everything and still messing things up.
I am prepared to spend the next few months getting to know a nice young man I met. I think that’s enough.
I just don’t want you to get your heart broken.
Why is everyone so afraid of heart break. All relationships don’t work, that’s ok. There’s no harm and no shame if it doesn’t work out with the first person you date. Sometimes relationships are meant to help you grow as a person. Nothing more, nothing less. Its been 10 years since I even thought I may want to talk to a man, I am just happy to feel the way I do about another person. But, I mean, I could continue to close myself off from the world, keep myself from heartbreak. I suppose that would be better?
Okay, okay. I get what you are saying. You’re an adult, do your thing. Have fun with it, but stay safe, people are crazy.
Girl, don’t I know it.

Coffee (Part 6)




I hope you enjoyed yourself tonight.

I did. I always enjoy the art museum.

Good. I wasn’t sure how you would react.

hmm. Was this your way of seeing how “cultured” I was. Kind of like weeding out the riff raff?


Silly boy.

Dinner had been wonderful. Harper had never been to the Pine Club, it reminded her of the restaurants in old gangster movies. The food was great, the company was better, this was a great first date. Too bad it was ending. She wished it didn’t have to end.

We should go dancing.

Michael was stunned by the suggestion but interested.

Dancing? People our age do that?

Yes. I didn’t mean a “night club”. Its salsa night at a club on Riverview Ave. I’ve always meant to go but never have.

I don’t know how to Salsa.

We’ll learn together.

The dance floor was huge, the club was in a old church. First Baptist of Riverview, it was different, maybe a little wrong. There was a electricity in the air that made Harper feel 20 again


Silly boy.

Dinner had been wonderful. Harper had never been to the Pine Club, it reminded her of the restaurants in old gangster movies. The food was great, the company was better, this was a great first date. Too bad it was ending. She wished it didn’t have to end.

We should go dancing.

Michael was stunned by the suggestion but interested.

Dancing? People our age do that?

Yes. I didn’t mean a “night club”. Its salsa night at a club on Riverview Ave. I’ve always meant to go but never have.

I don’t know how to Salsa.

We’ll learn together.

The dance floor was huge, the club was in an old church. First Baptist of Riverview, it was different, maybe a little wrong. There was an electricity in the air that made Harper feel 20 again. The last time she went Salsa dancing she almost got married. She looked at Michael to gauge his reaction. He looked interested, she thought she saw a little movement in his hips. What happened the last time he went Salsa dancing?

Michael was both overwhelmed and intrigued. He was a pretty good dancer, but he had never been Salsa dancing. The music, the clothes, the movements, they were everything.  Harper grabbed his hand and lead him out to the dance floor. She began leading him in the moves. Michael was overpowered by Harpers energy, she was beautiful, elegant and great at this. They were definitely not learning together.


Coffee (Part 5)


Michael arrived at Harpers home at exactly 6pm. She. Looked. Beautiful. The dress, the shoes, the makeup, the hair, everything about her was absolutely stunning. Michael gave Harper the bouquet of Tulips he’d bought for her. They both were pretty nervous and it showed.

These are beautiful, let me get them in some water and we can go.


Where are we going by the way?

Ummm. Funny you should ask. I have a work thing tonight so, we are going to drop by there for about an hour and a half, then at 8 we have reservations at the Pine Club. 

A work thing? I don’t think we have ever talked about where you work. Am I going to like this work thing?

I think so. 

So…what do you do?

I am a buyer for J. Evans Galleries. DAI is unveiling new pieces for their permanent collection tonight, I am the head buyer for all things DAI so, yeah, a working thing. 

humph. Nice.


Yes. Before I settled on becoming a paralegal I studied art history. I love art. 

Wow, just wow. Michael wasn’t sure how to react. He was hoping for an appreciation of art, he never thought he would actually be able to discuss art with Harper. This was already the perfect first date.


Harper always enjoyed visiting DAI. There was something intriguing about another person’s creation, it was like looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. She couldn’t help but wonder what the artists were thinking as they were creating their masterpiece. Was this something created out of love, hate, sorrow or joy. She had watched a program on PBS about VanGogh a few weeks ago, since then she viewed his art differently. Art looks so simple but is so very complicated.

So would you like to be introduced to my colleagues or left to explore on your on?

Harper was impressed.

I appreciate you asking, I am happy to meet the people you work with, I want to get to know you, that means everything about you.

Harper and Michael made the rounds, meeting other buyers from J. Evans and even Jeanne herself. Harper had met Jeanne at another event, she was an older lady, maybe mid sixties very posh, but nice enough.

Introductions complete Harper mingled with the other guests admiring the beautiful pieces that were being added to DAI’s collection. She watched Michael as he worked the room. He was so graceful with everyone, he charmed the ladies and boosted the egos of the men.  Harper was amazed by what she saw but a small bit of doubt crept in, could she trust him? Was he genuine in his intentions or was he just here to “charm” her? It had been a while since Harpers last relationship, she always allowed her “logic” to get in the way of her enjoying the company of a man. Was Michael worth the risk?


Coffee (Part 4)

Harper was extremely nervous, after three successful coffee dates she and Michael had decided to have a night out. Harper didn’t know where Michael was taking her, she had told him to surprise her. It seemed like a good idea at the time but right now it seemed like the craziest thing to ever come out of her mouth. How could she mentally prepare when she didn’t know where she was going. Will she need to navigate 3 steps or a flight of 15 stairs, these are the things she needed to know. Harpers best friend, Adrianna had come to help her get ready. They had been best friends since 5th grade, and Adrianna was always the best at keeping Harper calm and focused.
I can’t decide what to wear. I kind of want to wear a bright color, yellow? However, maybe a darker color for a first date?
Pre-planned morning coffee that makes you late for work two days in a row are dates. This is your third date, but you don’t know where you are going so you should wear a black dress. Wear the one with the ruffled sleeve and your silver shoes with the fancy ankle straps.
Harper nodded. It sounded like a good idea. Wherever they ended up she would look ok. Hopefully not overdressed.
What if we end up at an arcade?
You won’t, he would have told you to dress casually. He’s old enough to know a woman is going to be extra fly on a “first date”. He’ll expect this.
Oh gosh, I’m so nervous. Let’s do my makeup.
Michael wasn’t sure how tonight would go. He always planned first dates around work events, it was his way of weeding out the ones that probably weren’t “keepers”. He really liked Harper and didn’t want tonight to be a turnoff for her but was he really prepared to spend his life with someone that had no interest in his work? Why was he even thinking about the rest of his life? He just needed to get through tonight. The DAI was having an opening to unveil its new permanent collection pieces to members. Michaels employer, J. Evans Galleries, purchased a great deal of the museums more contemporary pieces with Michael being their head buyer.
You look nice dad.
Do you think this one will survive a night in the museum? I mean last time…
I don’t know. She seems like she’d appreciate a night of good art and live Jazz but…I don’t know.
You should wear the cuff links I gave you when I was five.
The ones your mother picked out?
(laughing) Yeah, those.
I miss her too, son. I really do miss her.
Michael was picking Harper up at 6:00, they should be at the museum by 6:15, the event started at 6:30, his part should be done around 7:40ish, by 7:45 they could be out the door headed to dinner at The Pine Club. Fingers crossed she likes art, jazz and a good steak.