"This is just about my favorite spot in the city," Amanda said as they slid into a cozy booth about half way along the right wall.
"I've probably been by here dozens of times," Jason responded, "but I guess I never paid much attention to it. Cities still creep me out a little and I feel uncomfortable poking around places that are unfamiliar."
"I used to be that way, too," Amanda said, and her eyes got a distant almost sad look as she spoke.
"But after three years at City College and being more or less forced to find my way around, I guess I've grown somewhat used to it. It seems more comfortable now, I feel sorta at home here. I don't feel so afraid of the homeless people you see everywhere. I don't cross the street to avoid getting too close to one now. But on the other hand I've gotten over the compulsion I once had to hand a few coins to every one I encountered. I'm not their savior and I can't be expected to share what little I have with others, just because they have less. Does that sound too cold and heartless?"
"No, of course not," Jason was quick to reply. "Though I admit I do get some pangs of guilt when I pass the guys with the coffee cup, jiggling a few coins in the bottom."
"Well, ya gotta take care of yourself first," Amanda said, "and right now, believe me, I have to watch every penny."
"I hate worrying about money all the time," Jason growled, "I graduated from Greensboro almost a year ago with a degree in art history. I'd always hoped to get a job with a museum, just to be near and be inspired by the great works of art."
"Probably sounds a bit childish, huh? But we used to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art a lot when I was a kid and I guess I just fell in love with it."
"Childhood dreams are precious, Jason; too many people give up on their dreams and wind up living dreary, unfilled lives."
Just then, a server arrived at their booth, asking, "What can I get you folks?"
"Two regular coffees?" Jason looked inquiringly at Amanda.
"Yes," she responded. "And would you please bring us a small dish of the Irish scones to share?" she added, directing her comments at the server.
"Scones?" Jason mouthed inquiringly as the server walked off.
"Oh you'll love 'em," Amanda gushed. "They're absolutely delicious, with currants and raisins and some days, even bits of dates. I suspect they also use some oat flour in the receipe. But they're not dry and crumbly like many of the scones you get. They're just the right amount of chewey so they hold together."
"Scones, huh?" Jason said. "I don't think I've ever tasted one. They're something like biscuits, aren't they? I think I remember hearing about them in some kids story book, but they were served with tea...yes, tea and scones, with a bit of honey, as I recall."
"Hah!" Amanda chuckled. "That sounds like Frog and the Golden Key, absolutely one of my favorite kids books!"
"Amazing," Jason enthused, "I bet I've heard that tale a million times, but you're the first person I've met who's even heard of it."
"Yes, I loved it," she continued, "I always hoped that someday I would find a golden key and would be able to travel through time like Frog."
"Yes," agreed Jason, "me too. I'd sometimes lay awake in my bed at night, thinking of the time and place I'd return to so I could do things just a little differently to change my life. Hah! I still do that."