Joan sat in her corner booth, as she did every Wednesday at eleven in the morning, and pondered life as she knew it. Was it possible to feel completely exposed even as one lived in a cage? She lifted the plain white porcelain cup and sipped her coffee, staring blankly over the rim of the mug, completely ignoring the papers scattered across the table before her.
A bright spot of color caught her eye, and she let her curiosity get the better of her. She lowered the coffee mug and leaned to the side, struggling for one last glimpse of the red plain coat that had so inexplicably intrigued her. Nothing. Joan sighed with disappointment and dropped another spoonful of sugar into her coffee. She stewed for a moment before deciding to learn from this experience, and turned her contemplation inwards.
She felt frustration: understandable, yes. Excusable? Not so much. Joan took a few deep breaths, emptying her mind of the frustrated thoughts and feelings, sending them out into the ether to be countered by positive ones.
She felt curiosity: where had the person in the bright coat come from, and where had they gone? What were they doing? She shook her head. She had no need to know these things; her life would be neither more nor less full with that knowledge. She breathed the curiosity out as well.
She felt confusion: what was it about that shade of red that had caused her attention to latch on so tightly?
Joan laughed at herself and finished off her coffee in one final slurp. She gathered her papers together and crammed them all into her satchel, not bothering to straighten them, heedless of how many would have dogeared corners by the time she got home today.
In four minutes she was blocks from the coffee shop and halfway through the park, striding along as fast she normally did. She checked her watch, then looked up to see, straight in front of her, the red coat. She laughed aloud, and the old man feeding the pigeons looked up, sharply, quizzically, before dismissing her as just another lunatic.