An evening in the coffee shop.

23 May

Roasted coffee beans. That’s what I smell when I think about her wedding. We were in a coffee shop when she told me. We sat at a small table in the corner. I sat with my back to the window so I could see everything. We met around 7 p.m. after both of us got out of work. The baristas happily barked out litanies of coffee orders I only understood because at one time had worked in a coffee shop myself. One took orders, the other sweated them out by grinding, pouring and capping coffees for an endless stream at the counter. They were mostly young professionals, like me. But was I really a young professional? It still felt like I was a high school student playing dress-up, with a desk and notepad as props. Or a child clunking around the house in her mother’s high heel shoes. The mocha latte in front me sat untouched. The foam was perfectly swirled like a cloud and the chocolate drizzle criss-crossed across the top like the crust on a blueberry pie.

Amy had only a sip left. But she always drank fast, like how she talked.

“And then he got down on one knee and he proposed. It was so sweet. I kind of knew it was coming,“ she said, talking with her hands. “He told me were going out this special restaurant and everything.”

“What did you say?”

Her blue eyes grew wide, and it looked like she might cry just a little.

“I was like ‘yes!’ Then he slipped this onto my finger.”

She unwrapped her hand from the coffee mug and dramatically held it out. The ring was huge. Amy detailed how he bought it for her in South Africa, on a business trip. The dollar is worth 10 times what it is here, so he could afford the mammoth rock. It sparkled on her slim finger. It’s exquisite.

“That’s gorgeous,” I say.

“I know. It’s so hard to believe.”

It is. For her, it’s a fairy tale. But for me, it’s like someone’s taking my best friend. The door opens and shuts, jangling and zinging shut, jangling and zinging shut. People come in and leave come in and leave. The baristas keep taking orders. Amy keeps talking. My latte is now foamless. It dissolved into the hot drink. I’m resenting time. Time that sealed us together through countless memories now separates us through the mere fact that we’re grown-ups.

The guy who proposed is a saint. I wouldn’t want her with anyone else. But I cannot deny the fact that she’ll move away, make new friends and share a life with a man. This life I’ll never know. I’ll get updates on the highlights. There will be the occasional visit. There will be children, eventually, and pictures, lots of pictures of course, a Christmas card and the bond that I’m one of her best friends from her hometown who stood up her wedding. I’ll be writing stories. But what else? She’ll belong to someone else.

“I looked on the Web site and I found the perfect bridesmaids dresses. There’s one I think you’ll like. It’s blue with a halter. It comes to about the knee, so classic.”

I nod and smile, nod and smile. She’s so wonderful at talking, and I’m so devastated listening to her.

I finally drink the latte, and it goes down smooth and hot into my aching stomach.

“Remember that one time in high school when it rained at camp and we slid down the hill in the mud?”

Amy is startled at my abrupt shift in conversation, but nonplussed. She’s up for anything and relishes new things, even in conversation.

“Ohmygosh yes! That was so fun.”

“And when you tried to save that dying catfish in the lake?”

She laughs again.

Coffee beans, and Amy, so pretty with her ring.

“You know there’s this newspaper in Colorado where you could work!”

This comment makes me laugh. I don’t think she’s ever even read anything I’ve written, which is one of the reasons she’s so great. She hardly knows what I do, and that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t want to try to explain it to her anyways. She says that she saw a newspaper there and thought of me. She’s so naïve, knows next to nothing about current affairs or politics or history. But she makes up for everything in the way she completely loves people. When we talk it’s comfortable only in the way to people who have known each-other since fourth grade can talk. Careers don’t matter between us. Matters of the heart do.

“Maybe someday,” I say. But I know I couldn’t afford to move for a very long time, not with the salary I’m on. And would life with her there ever be the same as it was with her here, when we were both silly and single and carefree? It wouldn’t.

I look at the clock on the wall and realize it’s 9 p.m., time to go home and get ready for work the next morning. Two hours passed, but where did the time do? Both our cups were empty now, and the caffeine had gotten to our heads. Amy was talking now about how she would arrange her mass of brown hair on the wedding day. The baristas were sweeping coffee beans off the floor, and I realized sleep would be difficult.

 

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One Response to “An evening in the coffee shop.”

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  1. coffee beans and weddings. « Slippedink's Blog - May 23, 2010

    […] the original: coffee beans and weddings. « Slippedink's Blog Posted in coffee | Tags: coffee, coffee-beans, coffee-shop, corner, small-table, store, […]

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