Friday, September 22, 2006

Quickie coffee is a mistress.

It was a warm evening when we walked to our favourite coffee shop along Leviste, a few blocks from where I work. Some joggers whizzed by, indifferent to our occupying most of the sidewalk. The air felt heavy with promise of rain.

When we got there, Gino settled for a café mocha while I debated whether to get a half-decaf of anything at all. Having coffee after six would keep me up well past midnight. I plunked down a hundred and ten bucks for a short caramel macchiatto. Half-decaf.

The sofa by the store window was our spot. It was in fact, an odd little space, not quite where all the tables where grouped together. Separate yet shared. It also felt like teetering between being inside and outside the store at the same time. The overhead lamps gave it a warm, illuminating feel.

Some nights we play catch up on stories and engage in a little shoptalk; and then there are those evenings where you just come across a thought-provoking discussion on what’s there all along.

“There’s really nothing like having coffee this way,” he said, referring to the sweetened brew in his mug. “Instant coffee doesn’t even come close.”

Because it’s instant gratification. That’s all it is.

A teaspoon in a mug, some hot water, maybe a bit of sugar and cream – all you need to deliver that quickie boost.

The relationship here is an obligatory one, and self-serving. No delight in it except for the expected dose of caffeine. Nuances and tastes are lost, as is with relationships that are fleeting and forgetful. There’s not much to remember by. Nothing to savour except for the bitter aftertaste it gives you.

Coffee that’s gingerly prepared from bean to cup proffers a lot of attention. Nothing about it feels exploited or cheated. The taste unfolds in your cup and there’s a richness to savour. Scents linger even after the cups are emptied. The kind of sensitivity expressed in making this kind of coffee just feels more intimate. Even long after the caffeine is gone; you would always remember what it was you had in that cup of coffee.

The rain came down hard that night, pelting hapless pedestrians with large drops. I gazed outside the window, looking at how fast the street emptied of people.

“And there’s nothing like sharing coffee with you,” I told him, smiling at my own cheesiness. In exchange for this confession, I am rewarded with a lingering kiss that’s as warm and memorable as the coffee in my mug.

Loving where I am, 7 in the evening.

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