Unusually warm temperatures for March melted the snow quickly, leaving puddles on the street and sidewalk. Strong green shoots of hyacinths and crocus pushed through the hard soil around the trees planted along the store fronts. Shopkeepers took advantage of the mild weather and prepared their store fronts for the day.
He stepped out of an apartment located over the local shops. Walking along the sidewalk with determination in his step, his flannel shirt fluttered open.
“Well if it isn't Robbie Mac Donnell.” The pub owner stopped sweeping the porch to lean against his broom. “Good to see you back, lad.”
“Top of the morning, Mr. Murphy. It's good to be back, sir.”
“Off to the coffee shop to see a particular young lady on this glorious morning?” The older man winked.
“Maybe,” Robbie smiled, “I'll stop in for a bit for lunch.”
“Maybe,” Mr. Murphy laughed. “We'll see.”
Robbie continued walking, smiling to himself. The good life could only get better; no doubt about it.
“Hey, Robbie, my boy! Think fast!”
He turned just in time to catch an apple that had been tossed in his direction from the grocer. Mr. Jennings came out of his door with a bin of fresh fruit to display in an effort to attract customers.
“Cheers for the fruit.” He rubbed the apple on his shirt.
“Good to see you home, son!” Mr. Jennings put the bin down to clasp Robbie's shoulder.
“Tis good to be home.” Wincing a bit from the rough grip on his shoulder where a wound from his adventure lay under his shirt.
“Ah-ha! Did I just hear you right?” The laughter echoed in his voice. “Did you just refer to our little plot of earth as home?”
“Your hearing is accurate, sir.”
“Well, well. I knew your would settle down sooner or later here. Now tell me, what's in the fancy box? A little gift for a little lady?”
“Maybe,” he smiled then continued walking.
“Hey there, Robbie,” boomed a large voice from a small woman fussing over a pot of polar pansies outside the book shop. “The book you ordered on Irish castles came in while you were gone.”
“Cheers, Mrs. Stork.” Robbie stopped to give the woman a kiss on her cheek. “Tis a gift for my mom. I'll pick it up later.”
“Would you like me to prepare it for you to take back to Ireland like you've had me do before?”
“Not this time. I won't be going back for awhile. I want to write a personal note inside then I'll send it through the post.”
“Oh, my!” Mrs. Stork's eyes twinkled a brilliant blue. “Off to the coffee shop, dear?”
“Good. That's very good.” She muttered to herself as she adjusted her worn sweater and turned
her attention back to her plants.
Stepping around several women patiently waiting for the craft store to open and begin a quilting class, Robbie flashed a smile at them. He loved traveling but his heart would always remain at home in this small town. During the last month spent in Ireland, he had plenty of time to look closely at his life. As a marine investigator, he enjoyed beautiful beaches around the world and women where ever he went. High time had come for him to settle down with a good woman and he already had a woman in mind.
Without pausing, he flung open the door to the coffee shop. Rows of tea nestled on shelves with various muffins made with dried fruits. The odor of fresh brewed coffee permeated the air. A couple sat huddled in intimate conversation next to the crackling fireplace. A little girl lay cuddled next to her mother on a couch. Several others focused on the morning paper or had their noses in a laptop. Mimi Cates owned the coffee shop where people enjoyed gathering. He felt himself smile, thinking of the petite spitfire of a woman.
Cory stood behind the counter filling a customer's order. Tattooed with many piercings, the young man gained popularity around town not only for his friendly demeanor but his talent for writing folk songs.
“Boyo!” Robbie fisted Cory as he affectionately referred to him as a delinquent; a private joke between the two. “Get any new songs done while I was gone?”
“Heck yeah! You gonna be around for awhile? Love for you to hear, dude.”
“Plan on it. Where's your ole boss lady?”
“Shit man, if she hears you call her that, she'll cream you.” Cory and the customer both laughed. “She's upstairs working on a painting. It's from one of those postcards you sent.”
“Thanks,” taking a cup of coffee from the young man, Robbie walked past the counter to a door that led to the stairs.
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