• Jake Corbin

Two Can Be As Bad As One


Art by Paul Rios

“Can I be honest with you?”


These are the words every eavesdropper craves to hear. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go out of my way to listen to other people’s conversations but it happens. Especially when people are talking at full volume in a quiet coffee shop.


“Some black guy contacted me and said he wanted to come over and have sex and spank me,” a woman said to her friend with extreme comfort in the middle of Weatherstone. She appeared to be in her mid-30s. “I’m not having that.”


I was standing, literally, 10 feet away from this conversation. She might as well have been talking to me.


“I have to be honest,” she said, waiting for some sign of approval before proceeding.


How was this conversation going to get any more “honest”?


“Yeah,” he replied with no emotion.


He was sitting in a chair that was facing 90 degrees in the opposite direction. It dawned on me that he might have been the victim of a severely flawed seating decision. She didn’t seem to care.


“I’m just not attracted to black men; is that racist?” she said completely serious.


“No,” was his all-too-simple response before returning to his coffee. His slow, methodic sips, much like his monotonous tone, were almost robotic in nature.


I finished adding cream and sugar to my coffee, popped a lid on my cup and turned around to leave. As I made my way past the dynamic duo of public etiquette failure, I met eyes with the coffee-sipping “friend.” Although our contact was brief and silent, his eyes delivered a message that was loud and clear—help me. There was nothing I could do.


I continued walking past the two, down the path of the shop and to the wooden front door. With a quick pull of the handle, I exited the cafe only to be met with temporary blindness from the bright, warm sun. Curing the problem with the sunglasses I had atop my head, I made a right and started my two-legged trek to work happy to be alone.


Sometimes one isn’t the loneliest number.

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