The Lone Traveler

"Sir, we'll be closing soon," one of the baristas called from behind the counter.

"Ah, do you mind if I sit here just a little longer," the old man humbly asked.

"I don't mind but you'll have to leave when it's time to close," he was delighted by the baristas answer.

They really didn't mind if he stayed, he had been there all day, since the early morning. He would order a lemonade, sit quietly and drink it. Occasionally he'd use the bathroom, and then he would repeat the cycle. As shifts changed, the staff informed the others of his cycle. Never did anyone suspect anything odd or dangerous; they were just curious about his motive.

The old man had forgotten many things in his life. His parents' voices, the third, fifth and sixth jobs he worked, anniversaries, and birth days of his children. One thing he had never forgotten was how much he hated the taste of lemonade at this cafe. It had always been bitter and not very sweet. Still, he had grown to crave the lemonade as much as this cafe.

Ruby was his wife, and when he first retired, he was bitter. He felt there was no place left for him in the world. Despite being retired for several years already, she never had those same feelings. One morning, she woke him up early and took him to this cafe. The ambiance wasn't great, and the lemonade was the worst he ever tasted. But, Ruby loved it so much.

For the past several years, Ruby had been in and out of the hospital, their daily trips to the cafe became fewer and further and between until there none. After Ruby's passing, he couldn't bring himself to do much. Some days he wouldn't eat or bathe, he may not even leave the bed.  

Today, he got up the courage to leave the home. At first he couldn't understand why he had taken the route he did. Slowly he realized he was headed towards the old cafe they used to visit. Once inside, the memories flooded back into his head. Hours they had spent here drinking bitter lemonade and laughing about the old times.

He understood Ruby was gone, but he felt the connection here. Things would be okay, is what he thought to himself as he began to exit the cafe. He stopped short of the door and fumbled around in his pocket before removing a fifty dollar bill and placing it in the tip jar. Outside it had began to rain, but he didn't mind at all. It had been so nice feeling things, the rain would be nice as well. Besides, sunny days wouldn't be so special if it wasn't for rain, something Ruby had said when they first met.

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