The Principal's Office / by Liz Brown

I’m sitting in a coffee shop near a window, eating fried avocaodos dipped in some sort of spicy sauce and drinking Sweet Bloom’s Columbian roast, made by a barista who called me m’dear in just the perfect way—delightfully old-fashioned and endearing.


I’m at the Principal’s Office: a coffee shop in a school that has been converted into an array of shops and cafes.  I pulled up, found a parking spot, entered through the front door, and hoped I was at the right school. Fortunately, just inside to my right there was a map that explained where each cafe was located within the building. I was relieved. I’d made it.

I swung left to an array of breads and pastries and a fresh-faced friendly fellow of about twenty. I asked him what was good. When he found out I desired coffee and food, he handed me a menu and sent me down a hallway to the left and around a corner, ending up directly behind where he was standing. “They know more about coffee over there,” he explained.


Around that corner, the area opened up to a wall of windows facing a bar. One of the bartenders greeted me and in a moment was over the take my order. Again, my query: “I’ve never been here, but I’ve heard awesome things! What’s good?” 


He explained that they had both pour-over coffees and milk beverages like lattes and cappuccinos. “If you want coffee, we can look at the options and figure it out together.” Then he opened the menu. “I like the salads; they have a lot of whatever is on it.” He pointed at a few. “The sandwiches are good, too.” “I like trying interesting things. What’s the most unique thing I can get? What’s something that I can’t get anywhere else?” His answer was immediate: the fried avocados. I didn’t hesitate. My entire life has been leading up to this point: drinking Denver coffee and eating fried avocados at a cafe in the mountains in the middle of the country. Practically perfect in every way (10 points if you know where that’s from).

I signed the receipt. “Thanks, m’dear! I’ll bring your coffee out to you when it’s ready.” Before long my fried avocados had arrived as well. I’d chosen a spot by the window, partly for its proximity to the light, partly for its proximity to the outlets. I’ll be here for a bit, catching up on editing and writing, and I’ll be praying. This week has changed me—is changing me—and it’s not nearly over yet.