– “Mind if I sit here?”
– “Go ahead,” I mumble as I look up. Then do a double take. Hey, this guy is gorgeous. I look around the small café and I see that there is nowhere else to sit. Figures. This guy is sooo way out of my league, he can’t be trying to chat me up.
– “Maybe you can help me decide?”
– “Sorry, decide what?”
– “Decide on the fate of the world.”
OK, this guy is round the bend, loopy, nuts – or just really bad at chat-up lines?
– “The fate of the world over coffee?”
– “You see…,” he tells me.
– “See what?”
– “Well, it’s really hard to decide whether a whole planet should be decontaminated now, or if its peoples should be given some time to prove they can do better?”
– “By planet, I’m guessing you mean earth?”
– “Of course. I’ve been here almost a year and I can’t make up my mind. One moment I think you are an infestation that deserves to be eradicated because you’re all rotten to the core, like mindless, vicious rats running around a self-constructed cage.”
– “Hey, rats are supposed to be intelligent and quite affectionate!”
– “The next moment, I see an act of valour or selflessness so pure, it makes me want to give you another chance.”
I have officially joined the weird-O-s of this world because I find myself arguing back:
– “Look, you’re sounding very judg-y here. It isn’t all damned or saved by one shining action, there’s a lot of ordinary courage in between, you know?”
– “Please explain.”
– “OK, well look at me, I’m unemployed, my dog died, my boyfriend slept with my best friend and I’ve decided it would be better to be orphaned than put up with any more of my family’s bullshit. Yet today is a good day.”
– “How is it a good day?”
– “I’m sitting in a café with free heating, the radio played my favourite song on my way here, my remaining friends are throwing me a surprise birthday party tonight (and I plan to win an Oscar in acting surprised), the coffee’s good and a sexy guy is chatting me up.”
– “I’m not chatting you up.”
– “OK, well then, it’s a mostly good day. Anyway, real courage is getting from day to day, even when you want to curl up and die. You’ve got to believe that tomorrow will be better if you just make it through today with dignity. And maybe if enough people make it to tomorrow making just one good decision, maybe the gift of one small kindness, then the world will be a better place.”
– “Um, so you think I should go for a more micro-reality approach?”
– “Not sure what you mean there, but I suppose so. Hey, if I can believe that today could redeem the rest of my sorry existence, surely you can believe that humanity as a whole can redeem itself given time?”
– “Your logic is faulty but interesting. It is true that complete elimination is so… final. Certainly, waiting a bit could not hurt. Your idea of redemption through micro-reality choices is an intriguing possibility. Thank you.”
He gets up and leaves. I realise he left his wallet behind. I run after him and catch him as he pauses for a moment in front of Cosmic Coffee.
– “Oi, you forgot your wallet!”
– “It doesn’t matter, I don’t need it any more.”
He smiles and winks out of existence.