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I experienced that sort of day recently. The kind I remember from my childhood, where I had no one to play with, nothing to do and was feeling woefully sorry for myself. The days my mother would tell me to ‘suck it up’. No, of course she didn’t say that back then, she instead said, “Oh Les, woe is me too.” And somehow, I understood what that meant.

Everyone without fail has days with no light apparent, no drive, or verve or joy. It can and does get called ‘feeling sorry for yourself’. Despite the mindfulness aspect along with the gratefulness part of my being, I still have hard days.  The days where nothing really works and calling a friend is not an option because, let’s face it do we really want to pull friends into a murky place? Or if we do can we trust ourselves to fake it til we make it through?

So, this one particular day a couple of weeks ago, I came up with the idea that I needed a dose of Tea and Sympathy…


So I got in my car and went for a coffee. Bet you weren’t expecting that, right?!

Away I went with the windows down, the music turned up and still with that heavy heart refusing to lift. That was until I got to my destination where everyone (pretty well) knows my name and I have no friends to speak of but they all are in a non-technical way. I knew I had done myself right when I ordered my coffee from Pep, whose name is Joe and he asked how I was.


“Eh” I said, Italian style. And he nodded his head. “Yeh” he said Italian style and waved away my payment. I gave him a genuine smile of thanks. Today coffee was my scotch and my cuppa. It was bound to do the trick.

As I looked around, I saw the usual group. Men from every part of the world imaginable all gathered peacefully in one spot, enjoying their particular taste for coffee and company. The people who own and work there know the peculiarities of each taste. Strong, light, with brown sugar, sweetener, less milk, more, black, half and half, double espresso…  I couldn’t help but to start feeling grateful. One for the free coffee but two, and more importantly for the riches our country and that community enjoy.

There are those who have escaped from fear and famine, war and bombings. Those whose parents were immigrants who made sure their children had more.  those who are themselves immigrants. New arrivals wearing scarves against the ‘cold’. Sandals with socks. There are Muslims talking to Jews. Turks talking to Greeks. Armenians talking to everyone. Russians, Croatians, Somalians, Moroccans,  and the list goes on to include Italians, french Canadians, and a single anglo… that would be me. The diversity I always witness in that particular coffee bar is mind boggling and inspirational.

I heard my name being called, “Hey Les. How’re you today. Alright?” And I was. I think I needed to hear my name and be asked how I was doing. I needed a feeling of community as I sorted myself out and I found it on the top and at the bottom of my cup of latte.



So, thanks guys for being there when I needed some Tea and Sympathy. I remain grateful.



Lesley Fletcher is a writer (freelance, books, content, lyrics,stage plays) as well as a visual artist specializing in monoprints. To learn more about her please visit the tabs here on WordPress or her website at http://www.LesleyFletcher.com or Artist Site.

To view other books by Lesley, have a look at her author profile on Amazon.