The Pram Baby

Sand blows across the cement floor of Full of Beans coffee shop. I’m not sure I like the name Full of Beans—it leaves one a bit puzzled about the meaning, and could have a negative association.In any case, on this overcast gray morning, I enter Full of Beansbleary-eyed and thinking about how some coffee will help me to awaken and greet the day. I walk into the little shop and immediately spy a pram of navy blue adorned with silver trim parked in front of the sugar and cream. I look around the room. Who would leave a baby in front of condiments? Ah, yes, there is a small group of women chatting and doling out animal crackers to their toddlers across the room. Surely, one must be the mother of the blue pram baby. Curious, I peer inside to encounter an astounding beauty. Her hair is dark and glistening. Her skin is a dewy, milky white. The pram baby’s eyes squint open to see me; she tries to focus her eyes; her hands clutch the air, opening and closing; her small feet give a little kick. After a few seconds, I look away, not wanting to appear overly inquisitive or alarm the mother who, I assume is close by. I approach the counter and order my latte. I shuffle about a bit in front of the counter and two rather distinguished-looking men walk in behind me. The older man asks, “Is this your first?” I think to myself, “Why, yes, this is my first coffee of the day.”….Seconds later, I realize that he is referring to the baby. I reply, “Oh, she’s not mine. I only wish she were mine. My son is sixteen.” Perhaps the vacationing gent then mentally connects the group across the room with the pram baby, just as I did earlier. Eventually, the baby’s mother decides to retrieve her, and I ask the baby’s name. Antonia. Antonia is perfect name for this baby. I imagine Antonia growing up to be a stunning and graceful beauty—perhaps a dancer or a painter. Most of all, I feel relieved that Antonia is no longer stationed alone by the self-serve area. Antonia’s mother casually takes her cargo and they stroll out the door….