We both woke up with a sense of malaise.

Which was weird for a sunny Saturday morning.

So I walked the dog, and J went home and showered. As I lay on the sofa watching Netflix on my phone, waiting for him to call, I tried to come up with a plan for the day. I really did.

I love making plans, and charting courses. There is just not enough adventure in my daily routine to satisfy the tug of wildness my parents raised in me. So I try to plot out our weekends carefully to ensure we get a little bit of everything. But this particular Saturday was a lull.

By the time J called to let me know he was on his way to pick me up, I had just summoned the energy to wash myself, and sit on the edge of the bed, wrapped in a towel. But even then all I wanted to do was lay back down and glare at the mess of clothes puddling on the floor in my room.

J has lived in Columbus almost as long as I’ve been alive, he drives this city like he has it mapped out in his veins. He wants coffee.

We pull onto Gay street and find a lucky parking spot near Cafe Brioso. Feeding the meter, J tells me how much he loves this coffee shop, and then tells me we can sit outside as we sip.

J hates sitting outside at cafes, bars, and restaurants.

So suddenly this day became special.

I order my frothy latte, and he gets his heavy black coffee, lidless. Cowboy coffee, we call it where I’m from.

The silent stoic type, he stares out across the traffic, and frowns at the poor drivers who confuse themselves trying to navigate the Gay-High stoplight.

When he finally speaks up, it is to tell me about this corner of Columbus being a bike hub, and gestures to the “tool” and “air” post for bikers, along with the longest row of bike racks I’ve seen in the city.

We talk about the building catty-corner to where we sit. How we would gut it, raise the ceilings and make beautiful city lofts with large windows and twinkling lights. By the time the caffeine high kicks in, J is ready for me to take the adventure reigns and decide where to go next.


We order a piping hot empanada, oh so delicious with its crispy corn covering and delicious cheesy-bean innards. My eyes beat out my stomach and I surreptitiously order fried plantains, even though I’ve claimed to “not be hungry”. The heaping pile of food in front of me makes my mouth water. The restaurant has my favorite kind of setting. Off the beaten path. It’s set back off Gay street in a well-lit, and friendly looking alley. Some skate punks use the alley as their jump off point to avoid pedestrian traffic. There is a corner wall full of oddly painted murals. Pink pigs, and a skeezy looking Mickey Mouse caricature gape down at the small patio where J and I are seated.

Two for two Saturday. Two hot spots, and two outdoor sits with J.

A bullshit parking ticket killed J’s good mood, and we rode home in a slightly stony silence, but I couldn’t help but be needlessly happy for the insertion of enjoyment in what otherwise was a mundane morning.