Shall the title to this latest piece be Serendipity, The Corner on Main, The Corner Cafe, or something else?
Ever been caught off guard by someone and wondered what to do next?
Swanson, GA, is a sleepy, southern town with a population of 25,000. It has more indigenous residents than those who relocate here. The climate is primarily dry, but the weather can hold torrential rain coming from the Gulf of Mexico. Swanson is southwest of Georgia's state capital and is home to a liberal arts college known as The Swansonian. The job industry here consists of banking, education, remote opportunities, as well as general labor. This sleepy town bodes well for those who are slightly resistant to much change. However, Swanson is a great place to raise a family due to non existent crime and its genuine hospitality. Holiday traditions such as the local parades and craft fairs are prevalent here as well as a Main Street full of shops and cafes.
The Corner Cafe is located at East and Main, and is family owned for multiple generations. It is known for not only their variety of pies but also home cooked meals and light fare. This cafe moved from its original location which was next to a fill up station. Now it is housed in a rehabilitated brick building that originally housed a main department store. The cafe shares its new location with local gift shops and is the highlight of the town for both natives and visitors.
The main character, Toni, is a native of Swanson and briefly resided closer to the state capital while pursuing her Business degree. Although her college experience was great, she grew weary of the constant hustle of a larger area and moved back to Swanson for her career. She has a great customer base and is familiar with the area in which helps her create and retain more clients.
The town of Swanson on a Wednesday and the sky is over cast. Toni jaunts down Main Street on her way to lunch with her ponytail bopping around. She has learned to slip on her sneakers when she is at lunch and not with a client. When she arrives to her destination, she politely holds the door before entering herself.
The smell of bacon permeated the inside of the cafe as Toni enters. She grabs a tri-fold menu and meanders over to the window. As she peruses through the selections, a tall, dark, intriguing man glances over to her location. Toni senses a presence and glances upward. He smirks and takes a sip of coffee. She nonchalantly returns a half smile, half smirk. She walks over to the counter to order.
T: “I'll have the Cobb Salad with an iced tea.”
The clerk rings in Toni's order and hands her a table marker. She grabs the marker and selects a table with a USB port so she can charge her phone. Toni browses through her email while she awaits her meal.
“Anything good that you are reading?” says a deep, masculine voice.
Startled, Toni turns around to look for the voice. The same man as before just smiles at her.
T: “Have we met before?”
He shakes his head and replies by stating that he gets that comment quite a bit.
M: “I'm Michael, and you are?”
T: “Toni. . . what brings you in?”
Michael snickers as Toni doesn't seem to miss a beat.
M: “Well, I heard this corner cafe has the best food on the block!”
T: “True, it does!”
M: What, may I ask, brings you in?”
T: “I'm on my lunch break.”
M: “Oh really, where or what do you do for work?”
T: “I work at a mortgage company on West and Main.”
T: “Are you new to the area?”
M: “Well, kind of, I've been here in Swanson for 2-1/2 years.”
T: “How do you like it so far?”
M: “Been good so far, friendly quaint town, easy to navigate. . . “
The clerk brings out Toni's salad to her table and removes the marker.
M: “Oooo, that looks good!”
T: “It is! This salad is my go-to-meal here. What did you have?”
M: “I had pecan pie and some coffee.”
T: “Sounds yummy.”
M: “It is. . . .and sweet like you.”
Toni fumbles and knocks over her tea. Michael grabs some napkins and comes over to help blot up the spill. Then the clerk darts over with a rag and a refill. Both Toni and Michael say thanks to the clerk.
M: “I didn't mean to make you nervous.”
T: “Um, I'm fine, really I'm fine.
M: “It's just that I was taken with your genuine demeanor. Here's my card.”
Toni graciously takes his card and shyly reverts back to her salad.
M: “Have a nice lunch, sweetie.”
Now it's the reader's turn to choose what happens next.
1. Does Toni return to her office and call Michael from her work phone?
2. Does Toni go about the rest of her day, dwelling over her impromptu meeting with Michael?
3. Does Toni tell her coworker about her run in with Michael?
4. Does Michael pose as a potential client at Toni's place of work?
5. Do they bump into each other at another random time?
6. Or does Toni pursue Michael at all?
A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. - Jean de La Fontaine
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do you wait for things to happen, or do you make them happen yourself? I believe in writing your own story. - Charlotte Eriksson
Actions are the seed of fate deeds grow into destiny. - Harry S Truman
I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfill our destiny, but our fate is sealed. - Paulo Coelho