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The thing that made my day

I’ve made it a sort of habit to have a cup of cappuccino at the hospital cafeteria near our lab. Almost everyday at around 3 o’clock I take a bunch of genetics papers, I buy a cup of cappuccino and I delve into the world of molecular biology, genetic networks and… lung disease (this last one really ruined the whole atmosphere, didn’t it?)

Last Friday, by the coffee machine stood this nice old man, who I guess wanted to buy a large espresso but who didn’t know that the machine only made small and medium ones.

"I’m sorry to take so much time" he said. "That’s quite alright" I told him… "I’m not really used to buying coffee from a machine. My wife used to make this great coffee, I still feel the smell in my nostrils…" he continued. And I could see he wanted to chat to someone because he went on "now she’s in the hospital, and it’s moments like these that make me realize how much I miss her."

I didn’t dare ask what she was suffering from, I think I was sort of afraid of hearing she had some incurable disease and that this old man was going to have to buy machine-made coffee for the rest of his life… Instead I asked "how long have you been married for?". "50 years" the old man said. And then continued "she was… she is the love of my life. She was the first woman I have ever loved."

And I swear right then and there my knees got sort of soft and I felt I wanted to give this man a hug and then cry! But I didn’t. I just said "I hope she’ll feel better and you’ll have some of her coffee really soon!"

"Thank you, young lady." he said with this bitter smile on his face.

And I don’t know if he thanked me for the patience of waiting for him to get his coffee, for listening to him or for my encouraging words at the end. But this moment stirred something inside me and for a moment I felt like I was hit in the stomach with a sledgehammer. Then it made me see everything from a new angle.

So I started reading my genetics papers. Because some day I want to be able to say I helped someone have some more of his wife’s wonderful coffee.


The following pics have nothing to do with the previous story. D took them (but I had the idea for both of them) during our trip at Tadoussac. I just think they’re uber-cool and thought I’d share them with ya’.



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