Few people can consider themselves lucky as to say their whole life revolved around coffee. Kimaya was one of them. She would spend the better part of her day at her cousin’s restaurant-cum-cafe and would earn some good bread for herself. She was also preparing for some more
proper conventional job but till then, this would do.
Much like everyday, she arrived there early afternoon and changed into something peppy. She had like nine hours ahead of her but she didn’t mind. And that’s why, everyone loved her there. She was this fantastico person who would light up things for even the most pessimistic of person and would make him/her forget their woes for sometime. She would cheerfully attend to whatever people needed, take their orders with a smile and would even small-talk them now and then. She had a practiced way with things, that comes along when you understand that the work you do is part of your life and not exclusive of it.
Everyday at around 7, a couple would come to the cafe and sit in a particular corner only. They would order a bunch of things just so they could chat a bit longer with each other. Kimaya would always observe them when they would be there, especially the guy. He seemed to her like the guy she would want someday in her life. She used to see him take care of his girl, attend to her whims, her troubles, possibly suggesting a resolution to all her problems. She also saw that every time the two of them would part ways, the girl would always be happy and bid him a peppy goodbye as she would ride along on her scooty. He would then walk about and Kimaya would watch him slowly disappearing in the night.
But she would never talk with them. Maybe because it wasn’t her corner even though if she wanted to, she could always exchange with the other girl. There were one or two times when she had attended to them but those were always when she would simply take an order like a normal girl and wouldn’t talk about anything. It wasn’t really a big thing but it was a part of her life and being as regular as coffee, she loved it.
It were festival days and winter was slowly sneaking in. The whole place was abuzz with plans and preparations with petty pedlars on streets selling creative little nothings to all who pass, more crowd pouring into the streets but lesser into the cafe and people finally making their way home than staying to fool around. That evening, Kimaya’s cousin had to leave early. She had to go somewhere but she wouldn’t tell. Kimaya was all too happy to stay a bit longer and lock up the cafe when she left.
Soon it was 7 but the couple weren’t there. “Maybe they too have gone home”, she thought as she attended the handful of other people. They weren’t so crowded so Kimaya had let everyone else go by 8 and was thinking of closing at around 10. Just as she bid the cook goodbye and was about to settle things away, THE GUY, walked in asking if they were still open. He looked a bit tipsy and a lot sad as Kimaya nodded in a Yes. He asked for just a cup of coffee and Kimaya went in to fetch him some. Inside she wondered what would have befallen the guy. “Did he have a breakup or something? Or was just having a bad day. Something must have had a deep impact on him. Yes, must be a breakup, he didn’t come with the girl today and looks bad as a wreck. He seems drunk too”- the thoughts ran through her mind.
As she came out with his cup of coffee, she saw that the guy had fallen to sleep on the table itself. She felt like rushing in to wake him up but instantly fought the impulse. As he lay there, with his head resting on the table, he looked so adorable to her she just couldn’t disturb him. She did some chores, dimmed the lights, put the shades on and herself settled on a table a bit distant to him and kept on watching him. The cup of coffee lying neglected in a corner, she never knew when she herself drifted to sleep.
Her eyes opened at around half past five. She saw that the guy was still fast asleep and realized it would be sunshine soon. But she had something to do before that. The best of her life’s moments had been at dawn and she saw another in making here. She got into the kitchen, made two steamy cups of coffee herself and came out. She approached the guy’s table, settling the cups there and patting on his shoulder ever so gently. He didn’t feel anything. She patted a bit hard. Still nothing. She didn’t think of jolting him out of sleep but then she had an idea. She put up the shades near his window and went in to bring a wet cloth. She placed it over his face and changed it again. Then, as the first light of the morning crept through the window and on his eyes, she put a third cloth and he woke up. He looked lost and realizing where he was, a bit ashamed too. Kimaya motioned to him not to worry as she pushed the cup of coffee closer to him.
They talked after that, talked, and maybe for once, something did happen over a cup of coffee.