Your eyes pierce through me. Your lips are moving. But what are you saying. I ask you to repeat yourself. Oh. There we go. You are asking for napkins. The memory overtakes me. We are back at Tim Hortons. It’s me, the Drive Thru hostess. It’s you, the Drive Thru customer. You have ordered your “usual”. I remember you. In an eloquent voice, I recite by heart your order.
“A Turkey Bacon Club. On White. With Extra Tim’s sauce. Hold the mayo. Hold the mustard.:
I ask you to pull up to the window. All of a sudden, time stands still. There you are. In front of me. For a moment, your hands touch mine. I pass you the sandwich. No problem. I pass you the donut. No problem. You pass me the money. Again – no problem. But, as I pass you your coffee. Problem. Big Problem. The lid wasn’t secured as tightly as it should have been. It flies off. Coffee spills everywhere. You utter a shout. Armed with napkins, I lean out of the window. I begin to wipe down your truck and offer a sheepish apology. You look at me with laughter in your eyes. You say that it is not necessary to wipe down the truck. You leave me a small tip and leave the Drive Thru. I follow you with my eyes. I ask myself if I will ever see you again. It’s odd. I have the impression that if I never see you again, I will be filled with remorse. But why? You are nothing more to me, than a customer. I don’t even know you. Yet, the chance encounter has moved me. I await your return with impatience, and ask myself why.
Eight years later. A Timmie’s coffee in hand, I search through a box filled with old essays. In the box, I rediscover an essay I had once written about a stranger I met, while working at Tim Hortons. As I begin to read, I become breathless. This stranger is no longer a stronger. He has become my husband. In the distance, a voice interrupts my reverie. “Mommy. I need napkins”. It’s my eldest son speaking, Colin Spencer. Behind him, trails his little brother, Timothy Luke…our little boy, named after his parents’ chance encounter at Tim Hortons.