THE BUZZ OF THE BEAN
The barista came without a word but with a smile, and gingerly placed the steaming cup of coffee creation in the man’s table.
The man, perhaps in his late forties, blindly reaches for the java elixir and transferred it to his right. He lit a Fortune, took a long drag, and gazed at nothing. He then stirred his drink, sipped, then brought the cancer stick back to his lips and let out a cloud of secondhand harmful gases as everyone else in the coffee shop did.
Everyone else, who consisted of a pair of girl friends, a father and his daughter, a posse of hipsters, a collection of suit-types, and a trio of white-haired folks – they were all confined in their personal bubbles bordered by their chosen spots, indifferent.
Different tables, different worlds, light years away, same galaxy. It’s a hodgepodge of personalities laid back to make room for caffeinated conversations.
The ones overheard (or unintentionally eavesdropped) told tales of work, school, friends, celebrities, random gossip, endeavors, trips, love, sex, music, dreams, and a whole lot of what happened yesterday or last week.
The forty-ish man, on the other hand, remained mute in his thoughts, a loner in the midst of a hive of subdued hyperactivity. As the bees went on with their honeys, he took one last puff from his dying Fortune, extinguished it, gulped the abyss of his coffee, stood and left.
I watched him walk out of Coffee Station, wondering about his silent soliloquy and observation, wondering if he did gaze at nothing or at everything, if he left because he was alone, if he needed to be somewhere else, if there is nothing here to look at except for the bean-fueled non-spectacle, if he saw that this is where you catch people in their vulnerable best, usually in the comfort of the impenetrable vacuum of time when the cup touches one’s lips and the flavor kisses one’s tongue, because the coffee experience is personal, because coffee discourses are meant to be cool and calm, because coffee is not meant to be rushed, because coffee breaks are a leisure, because there are people who cannot live without coffee, because —
I stopped the tracks of my pen, and looked at the ice cubes melting in my mocha in which a sea of transparency has formed between coffee and ice, like oil on water, glanced at my cauterized Marlboro Menthol, and knew that my conquest was lost. I put a fresh stick unto my mouth, wiggled my stirrer, took a noisy sip while I gazed at nothing.
Written @ Coffee Station, Robinson’s Place Bacolod
Vivien Marie Lopez