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Lights in Seattle

by Jaci Schreckengost about a year ago in humanity
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An essay of the lights I found on a 2019 trip to Seattle.

Lights in Seattle
Photo by Sarah Brink on Unsplash

I rolled out of bed in my Seattle hotel room around six that Tuesday morning in May.

I got dressed and walked out the hotel doors. Took a left through the courtyard, then a right onto the street. I looked ahead of me to see the red lights from the Pike Place Market sign cutting a break in the grey clouds of the day.

After breakfast that morning, I found myself in a window seat at Street Bean Coffee Roasters. If you’ve never heard of them, like I hadn’t until that day, click here. Basically, they believe in humanity and engagement. And if you have the chance to actually go, get a vanilla latte (I don’t know what they do, but it’s better than any other vanilla latte you’ve had), take a seat, and engage. The owner/manager sat at the inner corner of the bar while I was there, and asked anyone who sat next to them how they were.

When I go to a new city, I love going to coffee shops. They give you the opportunity to see people candidly in their routine. And if you’re lucky—like I was that day—you’ll get to see some of their dogs, too.

Another customer came in a few minutes after I did and also ordered a 16-ounce vanilla latte. I’m telling you: they’re better than regular 16-ounce vanilla lattes. Maybe it’s their faith in humanity. (It’s probably just the roast or syrup they use, but I like saying it’s their faith in humanity.)

● ● ●

In my short trip to Seattle, I met two people who changed my life.

One was unexpected. He was a bookstore cashier (and maybe owner) in Pike Place Market.

I had been in the store for fewer than 10 minutes. At this point in time he knew very little about me. He knew I picked up a Jane Smiley book and I was going back to school for writing.

“I hope all your dreams come true,” David, the cashier, and I assume owner of the bookstore, said to me as I shopped around his store on Tuesday afternoon.

I still think about this often. I think about David, and I think about his hope for me. I especially think about this on days when I have lost most of the faith in myself. I remember if a complete stranger can have faith in me, I can too.

The next, and most influential, was someone I have wanted to meet since I knew she existed.

On Wednesday morning, I checked out of my hotel, planned my trip to the airport for that afternoon, and headed back down to Pike Place. I was going to meet a woman my mom went to high school with in West Virginia. Thankfully, we’re all a lot closer than we all think.

After we found one another, we walked up the stairs at Lowell’s and sat at a table near the window. We overlooked the water, and it was hard not to stare. We talked about the hometown we share and the complexities of it. We talked about family, friends, and love. We talked about the magic in the world; she reminded me how beautiful the world really is. She reminded me that even in the dark, troubling times, there are so many rays of lights. She is one of those rays—and she is bright.

While we discussed many things, my favorite was how she got there. She tells it much better, but basically: she was supposed to be there. She knows that the world made sure she got there. She assured me things that are meant to be, will be.

I believe her.


About the author

Jaci Schreckengost

Hey there, I'm Jaci Schreckengost.

Here are some pieces of my writing. They're all drafts; some on revision one, some on revision ninety.

You can see more of my work at jacischreckengost.com. I'm also on Instagram @JaciSchreckengost.

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