Coffee is coffee is coffee. Except when it's not.
But if you're sitting down, enjoying a cup, and someone who is meeting you--for coffee, god, it's just coffee--is late, like, really late, like six minutes late, and you're already sweating and scared that, well shit, they're not coming, I guess it's just coffee, no room, just coffee for one.
And the bell. The bell sounds so insistent, so persistent, so sure of itself and, god, so annoying. It's a trap. A bruised and pained and aching neck. Up, down, up down, up and down. You'd think your neck would learn. ding, look, ding, look, ding, nope, ding, is it?, ding, look, ding, I get it! You're not coming to coffee. No, god, no I don't need room for cream. ding, what, ding, stop!, ding, oh.
Oh. You made it.
You made it.
The draft of cold air, freezing cold, by the way, ruffling your coat, tossing your hair. Your cheeks are blushing! Pink and cold and hard. Mouth like a Cheerio or a Fruit Loop, shocked into place, wailing "oooo, boy, it's cold!" And your teeth are so white. Like snow-white. Like milk-white. Like paper-white. Like Crest-white. Too white for coffee?
Jesus, you don't drink coffee, that's how white your teeth are. You don't drink coffee. Shit. I should have known. Of course you don't. You just wake up and look put together and act awake and are just perfect and ready and present.
It's just coffee. It's just coffee. It's just coffee.
The funny thing about lying is you can keep going and going and no matter how many times you say it aloud or repeat and repeat you'll always be missing the truth. So know that I'm not lying when I say again and again and again that, boy, yes, wow, you look like a million bucks.
And all of that, all those words and surprises and observations and questions, all of it runs through my head before the door even shuts behind you. I can tell I'm rambling--in my head, god, not out loud, I'm not nuts, I swear, I really do, I swear I'm perfectly normal, just a bit of nerves I think--because it's so cold in here all over again. That breeze, those terrible seconds of air flooding in after your entrance, they're oh-so-insufferable but wholly unnoticed.
And it's because you're here.
You came to coffee.
You said you would, but, god, I mean really, how can anyone be sure, you know?
That smile! Shooting like a laser beam! It hits me and I think, if we were playing laser tag, I would be all lit up and beeping and blaring and probably dead. That's what it feels like when you smile at me. Like we're playing games at an arcade and I don't care if I'm losing because that smile makes me feel like I've always been in first place.
When you tug at the chair, it's metal legs stuck and tangled and mangled with the table base, making so much ruckus, and you laugh--that laugh!--and create such a scene with just one chair and one table, it's no wonder that everyone turns to look. It's no wonder we all watch in awe. It's no wonder everything goes quiet except the waves of laughter bustling from your cereal shaped lips.
It's no wonder.
It's no wonder that the chair is four tables away and across from someone else.
Today it's just coffee.
Coffee, no room, just coffee for one.