Jon only saw them once. The man and woman – both in their early thirties – sat a few tables away in the coffee shop “talking.” At first Jon didn’t know they existed as he tried to breathe life into a novel.
“That’s not what I meant.” These words, not quite shouted by the woman, brought the two to Jon’s attention.
For the next ten minutes Jon could only doodled on the page, sip his tea, and steal glances at the couple as the volume of their argument steadily increased. If they were still a couple when they finally left, Jon couldn’t tell, nor did he care. He was more interested in why people argue in public. He had some experience with an ex-girlfriend, but his explanation at the time – she was nuts – couldn’t be applied to everyone.
Forty minutes and a second cup of tea later, Jon set aside the stillborn novel and started a short story about an arguing couple. In the following weeks, the short story grew, and grew, and grew until Jon wondered, Could this be a novel? Three years later, it was a bestseller dedicated to “That anonymous arguing couple in a coffee shop three years ago, wherever you are.”