For Ella, coffee shops were like the comfort of a favorite book. They promised a retreat, an escape into fantasy while reality honked its horn in traffic and careened down the highway. A place where discontent remained locked away by the tinkle of a friendly door chime. She could sit, smelling the fruit of Nicaragua, sultry scents of Sumatra, and the dark bites of Florence. It was only a promise of a world of imagination, for truth and the quotidian remained waiting, like dregs from the press, for her to finish her cup. The knowledge that it would end made each foray into bliss only that much more bittersweet.
He walked in, smelling like rain. She felt him before she saw him, and knew before turning.
His voice was rich, like the dark caramel roast he requested.
The brush of fingers over hers, soft like a whisper, heady like lightening, as he reached for the cream.
A word. A moment. Like a heavy chain yanking her by her stomach towards him.
A hint of a smile and he claimed her.
And then he was gone. The sounds of the coffee shop crashed back down on her ears and such wretched disappointment stood in his wake.
She carried her cup to the lonely sofa in the corner. Her place of lovely solitude suddenly felt unbearably empty. She chided herself for foolishness. She of all people should know that coffee shops were for the ephemeral. Not for the here and now.
She stuffed her hands in her pockets, sullen.
Then fingered the edge of a business card. She pulled it out in wonder. His. She looked up to where he had stood just moments before. His card. His card was in her pocket.
A sense of lightness warmed the empty pit, filling it and it spilled over like gold. The line between dream and real began to blur, and it felt like freedom not to have to choose. She couldn’t wait to finish her coffee. For today, the dream waited outside the coffee shop.
This week’s Tell It To Me Tuesday challenge: Tell a story that ends with the words “coffee shop”. Post a link to your story in the comments section below!
Next week’s challenge: Write something in which you use the following words: thrill, grow, snowflake, sigh.