23 September, 2008

Retired Professors

This is the second café story that I wrote during my recent trip to Berlin.

They’ve been friends for years. Ever since they worked together in the same office at the university. Long retired. Surprisingly, both have managed to keep up their youthful appearances. That is, considering their age. They exude a lively intellect. They are the type of professionals that have worked long, but never hard.

Today, they’ve met for coffee and cigarillos. As they do every Thursday. Sharing the newspaper. One reads the current events section. The other prefers the editorials.

A homeless person wanders from table-to-table asking for money. Many of the customers look the other way when he is addressing them, as if the man is an annoyance to be pointedly ignored. Others just shake their heads denying their inclination.

When the man arrives at the professors’ table, the one invites the fellow to sit down at their table. He offers the man one of his cigarillos, then asks the passing waitress to bring another cup of coffee. The three men sit in comfortable silence. When the homeless man finishes his coffee, he nods his head in thanks, gets up without disturbing the professors any further and leaves the café.


  1. What a beautiful vignette.

  2. Lovely. Too bad it's fiction.