*The Color Of Love
This story was originally published in, “Snapshots At St. Arbuck’s Vol 1″ available from Amazon.com
©2008 R. G. Ryan
It was predictably hectic at St. Arbuck’s with customers coming and going in a nearly unbroken chain of poor souls whose morning just wouldn’t be complete without the obsessive indulgence.
According to the neighborhood weather by 7:30 AM the mercury was still hovering around forty-five degrees, not atypical for the first of March, but a bit too chilly for my taste.
That’s Vegas for you: we long for the cold of winter when it’s summer, and then all winter long all you hear is, “Well, it’ll warm up soon.”
I opened my laptop and was just about to dive into writing when a young couple came through the door. He, Caucasian and she, African-American. Both extremely good-looking.
Well dressed, as if enjoying the fruits of financial success.
He had piercing blue eyes and light brown hair and she that rare combination of facial features that lent an exotic and mysterious quality to her appearance.
While they searched for a place to sit, two children, both under the age of two, contended for their parent’s attention. An empty table was chosen a short distance from my usual corner spot and the parents began off-loading kids and enough baggage to justify a cross-country trip.
It made me remember the days when it required just as much effort to make a five minute trip to the convenience store as it did to make a trip lasting several hours.
Now that I think about it, the long trip was actually much easier.
They got everyone settled—a statement that begs the question of whether “settled” is something parents of young children ever get to experience. To be accurate, I should say that everyone was settled except for the little girl, she of the oh-so-cute pigtails and impossibly large brown eyes, which oddly enough, happened to be locked onto me at that moment.
The father took his wife’s order for a mocha latte, the little girl’s order for milk and headed for the counter.
At least I think the little girl ordered milk.
Actually I couldn’t be certain, for what I had interpreted as “Milk,” could just as easily have been interpreted as, “Moke; Meek; Mao; Muck” or one of several other vocabulary annihilations. The other child, a baby of no more than five or six months, began to squall prompting the mother to reach for a bottle from the most high-tech diaper bag I’d ever seen.
By then the father had returned and the four sat in familial bliss sipping their beverages of choice, simply comfortable being together.
It was then that I found my imagination captured by something. I began to look at those children wondering how I would describe them to my wife.
I mean they weren’t Caucasian. But they weren’t African-American either.
How does one ascribe a color to offspring such as these?
And then I knew.
It had been right in front of me all the time.
Those two adorable little children were the color of love—love between a man and a woman manifested in their progeny.
The little girl turned part-way around in her seat, pointed at me and said in her tiny little girl voice, “Poppa.”
I heard her mother say, “You think that man looks like your grandpa?”
As if in answer, she turned around again as if to make sure, pointed my way and repeated, “Poppa.”
She then climbed down from her seat and ran over to where I sat, looked up at me in infinite cuteness and proceeded to start talking up a storm.
Not that I understood a single word, but to be polite I lobbed a few well-placed, “Really?” “Is that right?” “You don’t say?” replies which kept her going for a good ten minutes.
Finally, the father walked over, scooped up his treasure and said with wink and a smile, “We’re, uh, working on her shyness.”
“Right,” I said knowingly as the two rejoined the mother and little brother.
Over the course of the next thirty minutes I was so captivated by that beautiful little family that I didn’t get a scrap of work done.
“The color of love.”
“Excuse me?” said an industrious barista who happened to be wiping the table next to mine.
I didn’t realize I had spoken the phrase out loud.
“Oh, nothing,” said I dismissively hoping I wouldn’t have to explain myself.
Thankfully, she moved off to another table leaving me to my musings.
While we were sleeping a whole, new race has been born here in the midst of our years.
They are children who are neither black nor white, yellow nor brown but children of a different color.
The color of love. And to quote the late Charlie Chaplin, “What a wonderful world.”
*This story is dedicated to my son, Ryan, his wife La Vonda and my two grandchildren, Ocean and Diego.