Dear and faithful reader,
the following story is a multi-part series following Benjamin and Jennifer’s romance as their lives transition from adolescents to adults. Beginning in the year 2025, Benjamin has completed his military service and began a career as an entrepreneur, and although he had many failed businesses, his one success was investing in bitcoin early on in 2009. Fabulously wealthy, Benjamin is now a dedicated philanthropist determined to building a school in the South Valley of Albuquerque to educate disadvantaged youth. Jennifer has successfully dedicated her life to work as a civil engineer primarily focusing on building bridges and highways. Their lives had gone different directions, but one day a chance encounter in a coffee shop would soon bring them back together, and reignite a romance that would shape both of their lives, bring them closer to their shared destiny and provide a testament of love’s enduring power.
Chapter 1: A Chance Reunion in a Coffeeshop
Chapter 2: A Dinner & A Movie During the Christmas Season
Chapter 3: A Visit to Academy of Dreams Charter School
Chapter 4: A Grecian Vacation
Chapter 5: A Dream Wedding
Chapter 1: A Chance Reunion in a Coffee Shop
As Benjamin looked up from his book that he was reading in Humble Coffeeshop, the newest coffee shop of Albuquerque’s Nob Hill, Benjamin’s eyes were immediately drawn to a long pair of legs striding confidently through the glass entrance of the shop, and instantly he recognized the love of his life: Jennifer. It had been over 6 years since Benjamin and Jennifer had been in the same room together, let alone spoken a single word to each other. Benjamin’s eyes continued to look past the book in his hands, and noticed a stronger, more mature Jennifer than the teenager he had last known her to be.
At first, Jennifer did not notice Benjamin, and he watched as she stepped towards the counter and ordered a tall Earl Grey tea, to go. Jennifer had never been to Humble Coffee before, and rarely in Nob Hill, the area of Albuquerque where unshaven college students collect into dozens of coffee shops to drink cold-brew coffee while discussing politics with other intellectuals. Naturally, Jennifer did not have time to socialize in these types of places as her job constantly kept her moving as fast as she could, from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m., every day including Sunday. This schedule suited Jennifer as she preferred to stay as busy as possible, and had firmly established herself a rising star in her field as a civil engineer. But today, after pulling an all-nighter to complete the the RFP for the Paseo Del Norte interchange, she needed a bit of a caffeine boost, so she decided to stop into Humble Coffee to supercharge her afternoon work. After receiving her order and taking a sip of her tea, she turned and began walking to leave the coffee shop, mentally focused on the multitude of tasks before her. Suddenly, her eyes turned directly towards where Benjamin was seated and nearly spilled her tea as she halted her movement mid-step as if stopped by an invisible force.
Although Jennifer had merely stopped for a caffeine boost during her busy mid-morning workday, she decided to take a few minutes of her busy schedule to say hello to her former lover, Benjamin. Slowly walking towards the table where Benjamin was seated, relishing each step which brought her closer to the moment she had not known she was anticipating, she began to feel nervous as she did not know what she would say to Benjamin or what he would say to her. She sat down squarely across from Benjamin, as if two opposing lawyers about to face-off over a contentious case.
“Hi Jennifer” Benjamin stated, the simplicity of the words betraying how often he had rehearsed this reunion in his mind for the past few years, unsure if it would ever actually happen. With that question, Jennifer began to ease into the situation, thinking of the appropriate response to Benjamin.
“Hi Benjamin.” Jennifer replied, holding back the rush of emotion filling her body to reach across the table of the coffeeshop and gently hold Benjamin’s strong, sinewy hands, shaped from years of hard work and his military experience which were currently wrapped tightly, shaping the book in his hands to Benjamin’s liking. Jennifer noticed the strength of Benjamin’s grip around the book, and his intent to shape it within his hands.
Each looked upon one another, noticing the changes which time had brought to their physical features. Jennifer noticed the few white strands of hair which now peppered Benjamin’s temples and 3-day old beard. Jennifer looked upon Ben’s plaid jacket, and thought how he fit in perfectly among the hipsters and intellectuals of Nob Hill. Benjamin noticed and admired Jennifer’s cheekbones, which had always been his favorite feature of hers: angular, taught, and when viewed at the proper angle, sharp as the edge of a diamond cut by the world’s finest jeweler. He remembered the last time they had been together, when it was the very same cheekbones which sliced his heart into a thousand pieces. Benjamin noticed her finely pressed, perfectly put together suit-jacket and matching dress-pants, placing her perfectly in her profession of engineer, and Benjamin realized that this was merely a glimpse into an uninterrupted collection of her daily ‘uniform’ stretching 10 years into the past and 40 years into the future.
Jennifer and Benjamin continued to sit in silence: words could not suffice in this particular moment between two former lovers due to the tension built by years of separation from one another, each realizing how much they missed each other. The scene reminded Benjamin of two poker players, each with a strong hand, squaring off in the last round of betting before each must reveal their cards and one will be declared the winner based upon rules firmly established.
Jennifer began to move her chair, as if to leave the table and return to her life’s work when Benjamin interrupted her: “Sing to me, O muse…” he said, with a wry smile and a slight chuckle.
“What?” Jennifer replied, taken off-guard by the seemingly archaic and nonsensical statement.
“It’s from the book I’m reading, actually it’s the first line. I just started.” With that statement, Benjamin took a sip from his coffee and looked down at his book again.
Jennifer looked upon the white paper cup near Benjamin, noticing the swirl of steam gently and slowly rising from his cup of coffee. Black, no cream, no sugar. After a few more moments, Jennifer’s noticed the collection of coffee stains on the side of the cup, a collection of many sips of coffee, each sip of the coffee which caused a varying length, shape and size of streak vertically along the coffee cup, altogether forming the collection and creating a beautiful pattern: the dark brown, disorganized, accidental splotchy stains of the coffee contrasted against the pure white, organized, cleanliness of the cup. To Jennifer, the cup with the coffee staining, resembled an abstract expressionist painting, maybe a Willem De Kooning, and Jennifer wondered if Benjamin had noticed the beauty as she did, remembering her former training as an artist, before her career as civil engineer had firmly established itself.
After a few minutes of silence, remembering the years spent together and memories made and long past, Jennifer broke the silence and began to come up with a reasoning for their separation: “I have been busy, Ben, with work.” She stated, coldly and matter-of-fact, although that was not her intention. She tried to understand the reasons which had kept her from Ben, realizing that it was her own choice to separate herself from her love, all the busyness of life itself: going to work, paying bills, had slowly but surely separated her from what she had known to be true: Benjamin Arbor. In that moment she made a promise to herself that never again would she allow the everyday-ness of life to separate her from Benjamin.
“Benjamin, I’ve got to go.” she abruptly stated, and the two exchanged phone numbers after this chance encounter, and something inside Benjamin told him that this would be the first of many times he and Jennifer would enjoy coffee and tea together.
As Jennifer exited through the coffee shop’s entrance, she felt the sharpness of the cold winter air on her face. As she turned her face towards the sun, a warming began to replace the cold as she reflected on her chance encounter with Benjamin, and as she thought about him she realized that every day they had been apart, she had thought about him and missed him tremendously. Jennifer stepped to her black Porsche 911, the graduation present she had bought herself after graduating with her Master’s degree, she climbed inside, sat down and pressed the push-button near the steering column to start the car. As the engine purred and then growled to an idle, she set her half-full earl grey tea into the empty cup-holder of her car. As she began to drive off in the direction of her work, Kennedy & Reed Engineering, she began to feel a new energy rising inside of her and wondered if it was from the tea or from her time with Benjamin. She pressed on the gas and felt the engine pulling the car forward, which pushed her back into her seat. She craved this feeling and pressed the gas with a new determination.