Joy of Medina County Magazine | April 2020
THE READING NOOK
One Week With Kyle Hodge by Christopher Barnes
hat can I get for you?” the cashier asked me, pleasantly. I stared up at the menu, lost in the grandes and the lattes, the espressos and the Americanos. It was like I had never had coffee before. I didn’t know what any of these words meant, and I was beginning to hold up the line. “The vanilla latte is my favorite,” a man said, from a nearby table. I looked back to find a man in his late 30s, sipping a steaming vanilla latte as he sat at his computer. That was the first time I saw Kyle Hodge. “Okay, sure. I’ll have a medium vanilla latte,” I told the cashier. After I paid, I turned around to thank the man who had assisted me, but he was gone. When I got my drink, I was overcome with curiosity and couldn’t help but ask who the man was. “Oh, that’s Kyle Hodge,” the woman behind the counter told me. “He comes here every morning, gets the same thing, and then sits at his computer typing away for an hour or two.” “Really? What’s he typing?” I don’t really know why I continued the conversation to be honest. Maybe I thought the employee was pretty, and I just wanted to keep talking to her. Maybe I was genuinely curious about this Kyle person. Or maybe I was just making small talk as I tasted the vanilla latte. “No clue,” she replied, thoughtlessly. “But he types for an hour every morning? Doesn’t he have somewhere else to be?” “Apparently, not.”
She wiped off a metal pitcher, then looked at me impatiently. She wanted me to stop bothering her. “Weird, well thank you! Have a nice day,” I said, spinning on my heel and practically running out of the café. I was suddenly driven to find Kyle again. I looked both ways down the sidewalk, but it was clear to me that he was long gone. I frowned, frustrated. It wasn’t like Kyle was anything special. He was average height and average weight, with average brown hair that was an average length, but just the fact that he didn’t have to be at work, or anywhere in particular every morning was just stupefying. How did a man in his late 30s have no responsibilities? I would’ve thought he was a hobo if he hadn’t been decently dressed and using a somewhat expensive laptop. As I made my way to my own job, I knew I had to return to that café the next day. I had to solve the mystery of Kyle Hodge. I returned the next day, a bit earlier, and Kyle was sitting there at the same table he had been at the previous day. I ordered my vanilla latte, took it from the impatient woman, and then sat down at Kyle’s table without a word. He looked up at me over his laptop, and I swear a slight smiled flashed across his face. “Can I help you?” he asked. “Yeah,” I said, sipping my vanilla latte, “You can tell me what you’re doing.” I came off a bit rude and pushy, but I was kind of annoyed at how much he’d been on my mind the past 24 hours. I really just wanted answers.