Have you ever stumbled across a place that you were subconsciously looking for? It takes a bit for you to catch your breath as your heart smiles: “Yes!”
It might be as trivial as a little café, buried in a North African old city where few tourists trod. Except us. A friend and I were wandering down one narrow cobblestone street after another. We walked right past the café the first time, not because we didn’t notice it, but because the owner spotted us and began to holler that we were welcome. We darted down another street to avoid him. But that street was a dead end and eventually we had to turn around.
Hot and tired, we were easy victims when we passed by the café the second time and the owner called out his menu just in case we changed our minds. Then he said the magic words: “We have orange juice!”
We sat on white plastic chairs and admired the blue art hanging from metal chains on the blue walls. The reed table runner covered the rusty metal table and smelled like fresh hay. Sitting felt wonderful. The shade felt wonderful. We pulled off our sunglasses and mopped the sweat from our foreheads.
The juicer was whirring inside a makeshift hut, the café’s kitchen. A moment later, we heard slurping and a satisfied, “Ahhh!” Apparently our juice had met the café owner’s approval.
He brought out tall glasses on little metal plates. “My name is Rashid.”His sunny smile brightened when we tried to speak Arabic. But he left us alone until we were finished enjoying the shade and every last drop of our fresh orange juice.