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Anastasia led Paul down a street, and into a café. Adara had recommended this as a good local English speaking place. It wasn’t too crowded inside, but about half of the twenty or so seats were taken, and there was a short line. She was relieved that it wasn’t too busy, but she was really just glad to be able to leave the monastery and do something fun. She had expected for Adara to keep Paul training the whole time they were here.
“So is this it?” Paul asked.
“Yup. This is the place that Adara recommended.”
She approached the counter and an older man greeted them.
“Hello! I hope you’re enjoying the city!” He smiled. “Do you need a moment to look over a menu?”
“Let me get a latte, and Paul, do you know what you want?”
“Your strongest black coffee.”
The old man raised his eyebrows and laughed. “Coming right up, anything else?”
“Oh, yeah…” Anastasia pulled the letter Adara had given her out of her bag, and handed it to the man. “Adara told us to tell you she wishes you well.”
“Adara…?” He sounded confused, but took the letter. He quickly read over it, and Anastasia noticed a tear run down his cheek. “Your drinks are on the house. Thank you so much for delivering this. Take a seat anywhere. It’ll be just a minute.”
“It’s no problem.” Anastasia smiled, and led Paul over to a couch in the corner of the shop. She wondered how Adara knew this man. It seemed like she knew everyone, or at least someone everywhere.
“So do you know what that was about?” Paul asked.
“Not a clue. Adara basically asked me to run an errand, and have a day on the town.” Anastasia shook her head and leaned back in her seat. “So how’s your training been going?”
“Pretty well. I’ve been working on some things, and it seems like it’s going well.” He nodded quietly. “How about you?”
“It’s been interesting. Adara has me leading a team cleaning the monastery.” She sighed. “It’s been exhausting, but I have gotten to explore the place a little, so that’s been fun.”
“Find anything cool?”
“Well, nothing out of the ordinary, honestly.” She decided to leave out what she was investigating until she had a better idea of what was going on. There wasn’t any point in worrying Paul with a half finished story. “Well, they do have a nice library. There’s so many books, I’m kind of amazed.”
“Wow, I haven’t been in a library in a little bit.”
“Yeah… It’s pretty nice.” She paused for a moment. She needed something else to talk about, but Paul didn’t seem very talkative today. “So have they worked on your sight yet?”
“Nope.” He shook his head and sighed. “I’m beginning to wonder if they’re ever going to do it. I’ve appreciated the training they’ve given me, but it’s not the reason why I came here.”
“I’m sure they will.”
They both sat in silence for a moment, until they saw the man from the counter approaching with two cups.
“Here you are.” He placed the cups down on the table. “Do you mind if I sit with you for a moment?”
“Sure!” Anastasia was a little happy to have some extra company.
The man pulled up a chair, and sat down. “So how is Adara doing?”
“As best as we can tell, she seems to be good.” Paul nodded.
“So, how exactly do you know Adara?” Anastasia couldn’t help but wonder. Adara seemed to be shrouded in mystery, and anything could help.
“Ah, so she didn’t tell you.” He nodded. “That sounds just like her… Well, it was in 1975. My wife and I had just moved here from Cairo, but when we got here, my wife got sick. I think the move was hard on her. Eventually, she was in a coma. The doctors said they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her, and that she was probably going to die. I went out for a pack of cigarettes, but on the way I just broke down crying. I had been married to this woman for almost twenty years, and I was about to lose her. That’s when a kind young woman came up to me and asked me what was wrong. I gave her the short version, and she said she might be able to help. She came to the hospital room in a few hours and gave her some kind of medicine. Not thirty minutes later, she was up and feeling okay.” The man wiped a tear from his eye. “I lost her last year to leukemia, but Adara gave me forty more years with my wife, and for that I will be forever grateful.”
“I’m so sorry.” Anastasia was definitely surprised. There was something strange with the monastery, there was no way she could’ve been alive in the 70s.
The man laughed a little. “Don’t be. I’m eighty, and my wife was eighty two when she died. We lived a long happy life, and I don’t regret a second of it.”
Everyone was quiet for a moment.
“Adara explained why I can’t come see her, and I understand.” He shook his head and chuckled. “Shame though, I wouldn’t mind seeing what she looks like all grown up. I never thought a kid that wasn’t my own would change my life so much.”
Paul nodded, and took a sip of his coffee. He winced, and his whole body lurched, and put the cup back down.
The old man burst out laughing. “Strong enough for you?”
“Definitely.” Paul laughed in kind. “I don’t think I’ve ever even heard about coffee this strong. You’re truly a master.”
“Well, when you’ve been in the business this long, You learn a few things.” He nodded. He looked behind him and saw a queue forming up at the counter. “Alright, I’ve gotta go take care of that, but you guys take care.” He started to walk away, but turned back. “I’m sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m David, nice to meet you.”
“I’m Anastasia, and this is Paul. Thank you for the coffee.” They waved, and he went back to work.
“That was interesting… Starting to think something’s up with the monastery.” Paul nodded, before taking a swig of coffee.
“Yeah…” Anastasia replied. “Well, I think I’m ready to head back, whenever you finish your drink.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Paul started to pick up his cup again, when his phone began to ring. “Oh, wow. Almost forgot about places that had cell signal. Let me take this.”
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