He burrows his hands in the filth of an ashtray. There is a glass window, two feet, and a world of difference in between us.
He is digging for buried treasure: lightly used cigarette butts. The one in his mouth is dangerously low, on the brink of singeing his untrimmed whiskers. He plucks it out from between his lips and presses it fervently to the end of his newest find.
To no avail. Not enough sparks. So both cigarettes go out with a puff.
The rubber lining on these window panes is not enough to keep the curls of smoke from wafting in, with traces of street smells clinging to their coattails.
Inside the coffee shop, my elevated chair makes the height of our heads equal. We could almost stare into each other’s eyes.
But he is lost in a monologue to the doorknob.
And I? I have glued my eyes to the paper I am writing. And when that ceases to be enough to distract me, I simply put my head down on the counter and breathe in the smoke.