I miss those days, standing behind the counter in the Regina Gardens café. I miss the smiles the elderly ladies and gentlemen would send my way as they waited for their coffee.
I was just a volunteer, but they were my family. Each costumer to the café was different, with their own stories to share. Their stories varied from that of the war to how they met their spouse, or how the world was, when they were children. Those that couldn’t remember their childhood asked me about mine.
Visitors to the old folk’s home were always interesting to talk to as well. Some visitors were so regular that I knew their order off by heart. My most regular costumer was a man in his early sixties; his hair was white as snow, and his laughter warmed any cold heart.
This man, whom I will call Chuck, always ordered a cappuccino before going to visit his mother. If Chuck’s visit with his mother was cut short, he came back to keep me company. If I had a costumer, he would wait until they were taken care of, and then he would ask me about my day. After I told him about my day, he would give me an update on how his mother was doing. This went on for weeks, and then months.
One day Chuck told me he would not be coming back. I wondered if something had happened to his mother, but he assured me that nothing was wrong with her, he just wasn’t coming back. The truth is, Chuck never did come back, and I missed him. I missed his stories, his warm laughter, and his white hair. My Saturday afternoons were so much quieter now that he was gone.
One Saturday afternoon on my way home from volunteering I saw Chuck on the bus. He came and sat down beside me and we chatted about the weather for a while. Soon the subject of our conversation changed to Heaven and Hell. Chuck told me, “You’ve been good, you’re going to go to heaven.” I asked him how he knew this. “Because I am God,” he said “I know everything about you.”
This was the first time anyone had ever claimed to me, that he was God, so I wasn’t sure how to react. I wondered if perhaps Chuck had escaped from an insane asylum. I was certain that his head wasn’t on straight. I felt like bringing up the verse in Exodus where God told Moses that no one would see him and still live. I know I should have brought up that scripture but the bus came to a stop and it was time to say goodbye.
I have not seen Chuck since but I will always remember his white hair, his warm laughter, and that he always had just a pinch of sugar in his cappuccino.