coffee break

I wanna have you like afternoon coffee. On sunny days too but mostly on rainy. When the downpour’s thick as a curtain and no one can see. When the downpour is loud and no one can hear. Not even I – the ringing of my phone. The calls from incoming to missed.

There’s light coming in from outside. Like there’s a sun breaking the clouds. But there isn’t. Like there’s an old steam engine behind the glass doors of the café. Sending in steam for our cappuccinos.

It’s a cappuccino day. My second favourite. Starting sweet, turning bitter. But not too bitter. Lasting. Buying time. How much? It’s different every time but always it is short. I know of shops in America where they sell coffee in half-litre cups. How tasteless, diluted. I don’t even want you for that long. But I don’t want you for that short either. No ristrettos with you ever, please. Somewhere between America and Italy is our little café shelter.

(Or rather at your work, on days when all are absent.)

(In an empty compartment, the train due in thirty minutes. Oh how I love the rattle of rain on those dirty windows. The suspense. The fear of getting caught.)

(On staircases in those old houses in the City where war veterans’ wives live.)

(In the car. A little privacy at last, be it narrow as a cell.)

It’s our cell but we are free. It’s the world that is imprisoned. Look at all those wet and rushing people. Listen to the horns outside. Let’s not belong for one more minute please. Let’s not belong.

Sometimes you tell me something. On a flat white day maybe. (That’s my favourite.) Relaxed and smiling, a story on your lips. Almost giving me a promise. Almost telling me you’re taking me somewhere. To the mountains or the woods. Pines and hot steam in the air from where we dropped our clothes. And all that Instagramy bullshit. “Stop it,” I whisper and hold my empty cup to feel the warmth dissolving. Let’s be only here for just one more minute. Let’s be only here.

We’d meet on an espresso day as well. Not my favourite at all but better this than nothing, right? You’d be tense with lots of questions in your head. You’d need a second morning. (Hence the espresso.) You’d be fast, strong, bitter to sour. Couple of gulps and you’re gone. That’s okay. The beauty of espresso days lies in the aftertaste.

Do we need it again? Or do we need more of it? Hard to tell. We’re happy with a habit. We don’t want addiction. A break, they say. A coffee break. Something in the middle of the day to keep us going. So many things to use extra caffeine for. Schools and shops and traffic and dinners and kids and wives and husbands. Responsibilities and expectations. Let’s be careless one more moment, please. Let us be careless.

I hold your face and feel the warmth dissolving. The waitress takes our empty cups and the residue of guilt in them. We’ll pay her to get rid of it. Down the sewer it will go along with all the rain. She’ll come back again to our table, wipe the coffee stains away.

At that time we will be gone, each on our own way. Answering the calls we missed. Blame it on the rain. Traffic lights and children’s voices. Bright-lit shops and cluttered kitchens. Good evening kisses on our spouses’ lips.

Late at night I am so tired it’s like there’s nothing I can lean on.

But when I close my eyes, a steam train passes.

We’re having cappuccino.

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