The Coffeehouse Crapshoot

I was ready to smash things, and she was more than willing to just move on to a greater destination and not let our let down weigh us down.

It was an autumnal Sunday full of color, her favorite being the peachy orange as it stood out as the brightest and boldest among the others. I glanced over at the woman in the passenger seat and my heart jumped and my stomach made a longing roll within itself. I knew I was in love and would be forever with this one. I was living in sort of a dreamland at that moment.

We had just come from sculpting our bodies and filling the auto with petrol. We were in the mood for a good coffee and some brunch. And since Halloween was edging closer by the day, we decided to go to one of our favorite haunts, that place downtown where the mists of our ghostly memories cling to the air like cream on pumpkin pie. The Coffeehouse.

The Coffeehouse sat on a popular corner in the downtown sector of our town and was one of the few places open on Sunday seeing that many of the townsfolk flocked to the booming bell towers to chant and sing to great stained-glass Bog in the sky, their voices like bleached licorice streams frothing and flowing forth from their hypocritical holy gullets and spilling out into the world like sirens in the sky.

Parking came easy, which it never did during the week, and we walked hand in hand down the crisp concrete, staggering behind some old lady in a red coat puffing away on a white cigarette. We caught a whiff of the cloud she spoke of, and memories of wild younger days danced in my head as my lady friend battened down the sweet hatches of her body – for she has battles between the air and her own lungs.

We entered the establishment and there was a small crowd inside quietly murmuring among themselves and we made our way to the front counter and to where they had the large rectangular menu board set off to one side. Our eyes strolled along the boardwalk of selections and my lady friend went straight for the London Fog, some kind of tea mash up that I don’t really clearly understand, but it gives her great joy as it slips across her lips and down into her glorious guts.

I usually would opt for a Cuban coffee, but on this autumnal Sunday inside The Coffeehouse, I wanted to try something different and went for the elderberry tea because I wanted a jolt of something that would rev up my immune system or whatever the hell it does. I also wanted the waffle with whipped cream and sliced banana. My lady went with the waffle as well, but with fresh berries and whipped cream. I was feeling a bit randy after all that talk of whipped cream, and I pulled her close to me and whispered something about uncontrollable hot love and madness.

The clerkie at the counter was a confused, nervous type – probably a newbie that wouldn’t last – and she kept asking the barista beside her questions about this and questions about that, and then as she was clumsily punching our order into the machine there, she would look up at us with a pained expression and tell us, “We’re out of that, we’re out of that, too. We don’t have that. I’m sorry we don’t have any of that either.” They had a piece of paper there with a list of things they were out of that the girl kept referring to. It was a long list. My lady friend wanted to look at it, but they kept it guarded like some great royal secret.

They didn’t have either of the teas needed for our chosen beverages. They didn’t have what they needed for our backups, as well. I wondered if they even had water. With frustrations growing, my lady and I settled on Plan C – drinks we didn’t really want because it was all that remained. The sadness in her eyes made me want to smash a spooky pumpkin right then and there, but then again, I would have probably been busted up myself by the bobbies for causing a radical disturbance on the Day of the Lord.

Grief-stricken by the news of the Coffeehouse’s diminished supply, we took our number to a small table for two and sat down. A short while later, the same girl who had taken our order at the counter strolled over, a haunted house type of fear smeared across her face, and she informed us, “I’m sorry, we’re out of waffles… But we have pancakes.”

My lady friend, who is often much bolder than I, quickly snapped back with, “This is ridiculous. How can you have pancakes, but not waffles? Can we just get a refund.”

My nerves were tingling throughout my body as we made our way back up to the counter to engage in whatever process would be necessary to get our refund. I wasn’t looking forward to it because I figured it would be some horribly complicated thing that they couldn’t figure out and it would take half the day. But then, the humbled and meek clerkie girl came through the crowd with a palmful of cash and some coin. She handed it to me and apologized again. After that, we walked out.

I took my lady by the hand, and we strolled along the walk, my insides grumbling with anger. My lady friend, however, is quick to resolve disappointment in life by looking at the brighter side of… Everything. She has a gift for staying positive in an increasingly negative world. I was ready to smash things, and she was more than willing to just move on to a greater destination and not let our let down weigh us down. She’s angelic like that, and I often believe that is the reason the universe gifted her to me. She’s always what I need when I need it. She always has been – from the very beginning of us to the very breath I take now. I only hope I can return that gift tenfold.

We crossed over the street to the other side and found a little patio bar type kind of place we had never been to and were happy to see they were still serving brunch. We sat outside and we had the sugar waffles with syrup, fruit, and bacon. We were tucked up against each other on a bench at a metal table as we ate and drank. The weather was perfect. The sky was a pure, unmuddied blue. The air was kindly littered with gold and green and orange. And in the end, things turned out better than I expected. We were in a passing moment of life, and we were in it together, and that’s perfect imperfection.


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