She always had an appetite for coffee, house blend was her favorite. A morning cup meant bliss but, really, she’d drink it all day long. She would enter every café she passed, flamboyantly flashing her silver rings and the jangly doo-dads of her bracelets. She loved the sound of the percolator, a whistling teapot, liquid creamer dripping. In fact, that’s where she met him, at the Busy Bee café. He ordered a double-shot mocha latte and she thought the Gods must be sending her a signal.
During their first date she was a jumbled ball of nerves, unsure if she should disclose that some nights she felt like a reincarnated Janis Joplin dancing before her bedroom mirror. But the sun set early during their dinner, the rare blood moon spreading pink clouds like blooming, effervescent flowers across the sky. Pink was her favorite color, and so she felt that was a good omen. She quickly fell in love and, he, into her bed.
It was summer break, ten days full of two bodies spilling their chemistry into the sheets of her bed, the old couch from her first semester in college, the shag carpet that absorbed her tears when on the tenth day his call never came. She was okay for a few hours, wringing her hands and smoking cheap cigarettes (usually she didn’t smoke at all). But soon her irritation with the front door grew as she waited for the 9pm knock that never came.
In a fevered tantrum of grief and shame, she busted the colorful coffee mug he gave her, save for the one lone point of porcelain, the shard she used to scrape his face from a polaroid picture of them together. The only picture she had of them together, actually. And in a pitiful fury of revenge, she flushed the bitter beans of his favorite Columbian coffee down the toilet. After that she spent long days sleeping and took up baking. She learned to make fruit loaf, yeast bread, sweet buns and sour dough, though she rarely ate anything she made. Her loaves of fresh bread became sick gifts she gave to friends and neighbors. She lost so much weight that her favorite sweater dress hang limp at the elbows.
Desperate for caffeine, she started making tea. She preferred it unsweetened so the tang of herb and tree leaves would tingle atop her tongue for hours. Until one evening in October she ventured into a bookstore, surprised to see a homely café nestled into the far corner. She couldn’t remember the last time she drank anything besides chamomile tea, so she quickly bought the current issue of Poetry magazine and ordered a Hazel Nut espresso. As she savored the bittersweet nectar and words of poets by names she’d never heard of, she felt more like herself than she had since…him.
Now every evening you can find her there, in her long necklaces made with charms and hemp, reading poetry and having coffee. Her favorite seat is in the back right-hand corner so she can choose to lose herself in a book, or observe the hipster patrons engage in conversations about new age rigmarole and the slow demise of pop culture. Every day she orders something different…Vanilla Bean Latte, Macchiato, even black coffee. But she never drinks Mocha anymore.