Creative Outlet – a blog full of stories and personal musings


Cold January Day

The coins rattled in my pocket as I neared the café, not really knowing what I'm going here rather than down to the supermarket. Had it been up to my mind, I'd not even left the flat, because there is nothing out here to pull me outside.

But I didn't have any more coffee. If I had taken the time to actually rummage through my sorry excuse of a fridge, I'd probably have found other things that I was missing, but here I was, needing my daily intake of coffee.

It was raining and the 5 minute walk meant that I was already soaked to the bone, but it was refreshing, to say the least. My own bloody fault for just wearing a hoodie. At least I'd had the energy to shower first and I smelt.. musky already.

I eyed the café as I walked around the corner and sure enough, it was already open. It was like a beacon on the cold, grey morning. It was empty, I saw, which made me hesitant. I wouldn't be able to blend in with the others, avoid the waitresses gazing eyes. A rare moment of social courage soared through me as I pushed the door open. Or tried to. Shit, it wouldn't budge. I feverishly, feeling my cheeks blush up, looked for a sign, please say it's open. The waitress on the other side, behind the bar, mouthed something to me. I pulled off the hoodie, saying what? Probably just mouthing it. This is all too much.

"You gotta push hard, it's binding" she yelled, her voice squeaking at the high pitch. She blushed too, I saw it, as she looked away, obviously annoyed her voice. I smiled, not even forced - you go man, pushed my shoulder to it and the door finally opened. I greeted her with a hearty good morning, before my glasses started to steam up. I swore internally, as I most likely looked like a fool, asking for a coffee, black, no sugar, splash of milk. She smiled her fake "you are the customer" smile and started turning knobs on the steam machine, while I tried to peer around through the steam on my own glasses. I could feel the rain drops fall from what can best be described as "unkempt hair having a good day". I probably looked like a mess, but thankfully, she didn't peer up once, not even when she asked me if it is for here or to go.

Where I magically managed to reply "to here". So glad she didn't look up, as my head must have been like a strawberry. I cursed myself for being so terrible at people, especially those I do not know.

She handed me a tall cup and I sat down by a small table, pointing towards the window. I wondered what she thought of me, probably that I'm just another deadbeat guy on the dole, trying to run away from job searching. And she'd be right, although I am also on parole from my flat, as it seems to have pretty much jailed me. Should have brought my laptop, then she'd at least see that I was productive, rather than just sit and stare, overthinking a pointless encounter that lasted less than 20 seconds. Woo-ey. Overthinker's blight.

I forgot to pay! Almost kicking the table away, I got up and started counting coins in my palm, asking how much I owe. She smiled at me, yet another one of those "must smile to the customer" and said she usually just charges when you are on the way out. Oh, I mustered, excusing myself that I might have to leave immediately soon, when I get a call.. yeah, that oughta show her that I am a go-getter. She said her price, held her hand out and I dumped the coins into it, making sure I didn't touch, she probably wouldn't like that, and sat down again. A bit more than what a bag of good beans from the local store would have cost.. but sometimes you gotta be good to yourself, even when your income couldn't even stand a trip to the cinema. Oh, I shouldn't have bought this, what will I do tomorrow morning?

The coffee tasted bitter, the bitterness of it's pricetag, but also as bitter as coffees should go. It was good, even, one of those espresso shot infused ones that I never really bothered with but it was.. good. It warmed me up and I felt alright, despite the depressing nature of the day and my situation. Why don't I go out more often? I answered myself with what I always tell myself when feeling cooped up inside, that there is no reason to go outside. I sighed, stuck in my own mind and just stared into the table. People walked by outside, urgently trying to get to their goal. I wondered what they were doing outside at 10 in the morning, they should have been at work hours ago. Would be fun to just stop one of them and hear what they are doing, where they are heading.

Probably sat there, staring, thinking, making myself feel more dreadful by the minute, for at least 20, before the waitress came over. She said she had made a bit extra for if another customer came in, but couldn't just let it sit there. Asked me if I wanted it and I just nodded with a smile. She poured from an iron pot of sorts and I just looked right through it, trying to think a thought through. Suddenly I felt a warm sensation across my fingers around the cup and looked down, warm coffee suddenly being poured over them. The waitress, wide eyed, apologized as she ran off and ran behind the counter, a pool of coffee creating under the cup. I licked a bit off a finger, said it's okay, but she came running over with towels, managing to knock over the cup which poured out over me. It wasn't hot, but it was warm enough. Awkwardly, I had no idea what to do other than to push back and let the coffee drip down on the floor. She tried her best, with her 5 towels and whatnot, to soak it up, but just managed to push it around even more. She was red all over, I was just slow as usual, taking out my phone from my pocket and putting it in the hoodie, avoiding the spreading circle of coffee in my crotch.

I stood up, asking her if I should help, as she knelt down, ass up in the air, trying to dry up everything and pretty much being unsuccesful. Suddenly the door goes, I get down there and tell her I'll handle it, don't worry. She took a look at me, eyeing the woman entering, then getting up and going behind the bar.

I try my best in soaking it up, at least my mother had taught me something that stuck about liquids and how to soak it up, taking a few trips to the bathroom to wring the towels from coffee, while trying my best to get the coffee out of me. Been too long and it was mostly absorbed. Didn't really matter as I didn't live far away and I didn't mind the coffee smell. Barely a stain to see in my darkened trousers anyway. I heard the door go and more people coming in, they probably thought the worst of me as I kept wiping up, cleaning and eventually I had it all or as much as I could have without cloth and proper soap. It smelt nice, the coffee on me and the table so it honestly didn't bother me as much as it seemed to bother people eyeing me as they wait for their drink.

It didn't bother me. I helped someone and it felt good. Although, I now don't have any coffee. I took the cup and put it on the counter. She smiled at me but didn't acknowledge it and I sat down again, not really having anything else to do and .. well, I still had the soiled towels I needed to figure out where went. And with that I regretted having helped. I should just have stayed out of it, it wasn't even my fault and all those people will leave thinking it was me, pretty much ruining their day. And mine. I should have stayed at home. My eyes darted around, kinda trying to get the waitress' attention but completely failing at it. I wanted to leave, but personal responsibility.. I have to finish this. Why did I regret it so suddenly, I just felt so fine with it, but the social consequences just piled up and it required me to talk with her. Oh, fuck.

It was fine with just her and me here. I did the right thing, why can't they just see that? I felt like the walls moved in on me, sweat dribbling down my forehead, I was wearing too much, I knew it when I left home so why did I? My face must be red as hell, they will all notice and think I'm some kind of mental nutjob who have peed his pants and poured coffee over myself to make it look normal. I need to leave. Now. I had pulled myself so far in under the table that I knew that if I pushed the chair out, I would make a lot of noise. No, I'm trapped here.

And as soon as I entered my tantrum, I was released from it. The last customer left before I noticed it and the waitress lady hurried over, apologizing for everything, grabbing the towels while talking rapidly about how she is always clumsy and she is truly very sorry about it and she hadn't thought of anything since it happened. I, terrible as I am, said it was nothing and it happens and I don't mind at all, lying my teeth out but it was really nothing, my mind just blows it out of proportions.

While she was running around, small talking to her heart's content about how it was just going to be a normal quiet day, but then this happened, how she have had a terrible weekend with friends .. I blanked out a bit, but tentatively tried to listen. She was an oversharer, I found it cute and interesting that someone could give so much of their life out to a random stranger. She was cute, too. I just found out. Tiny, yet full of energy. I smiled at her, the genuine smile, again deflecting her apologies. It always happened when girls show interest, I get interested in them as well.. too much, almost crushing on them, just because of the little attention they provide, something I massively crave. It was all worth it.

She asked me if I wanted a replacement coffee, now that she ruined my previous one. My "Nah, you don't need to do this" attempts were pointless because she was already making one. Said alright, but it had to be to go as I have to leave. She almost pouted and my heart flustered. She said she'd make it extra special, which I have no idea what meant. We chitchatted a bit back and forth, but mostly about her, the way I prefer it. Asked why she hadn't seen me here before and was just honest about the no job part, which she could relate to. It was fun, just chatting with her and I hated myself for excusing myself out to get home to my social safezone. She was the kind of person who'd chat when they were nervous, which was evident in her speech, it was shaky, sometimes cracking and she did not like being observed. I tried to lean nonchalantly over the bar edge, staring at nothing while chatting to keep her off her edge.

It took a bit to make her special coffee and handed it to me in one of those holders for 2 cups, a napkin neatly folded and tugged under the cup. She'd placed a lid on it, which I hated to drink from, but how could she know, it's to go and that's how it is done. She smiled, told me she hoped I liked it and said goodbye and thanks again for the help. I flustered, fell over the words and at least managed to wish her a fantastic day, aside the mess. I opened the door, both an escape and a wall I didn't want to pass through because.. I know I'm terrible at it, but I felt something from her, but it was probably nothing and staying would just make everything even more awkward. I gave a little wave, which probably looked quite awkward and walked out into the rain, cup happily in hand.

Rain was pouring down now and I was freezing in minutes. A good wind had picked up as well, making this hoodie entirely the wrong wardrobe to choose. I managed to find somewhere to stand still, so I could warm myself on the coffee. Awkwardly, I took the lid off, trying to hold it all together. My entire body shuddered at what I saw. It was a foamy coffee, sprinkled with what I could only imagine was chocolate sprinkles. It looked fancy as hell, but she had made a tiny heart in the foam with precision and it just made me smile wide, probably scaring everyone passing me. I took a sip, just to taste it and it was the best coffee I've ever tasted, like it was based on some kind of dark chocolate but I couldn't get myself to ruin the foamy heart. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something on the napkin. Saw it earlier, but just figured it was decoration on it, but then just remember that they only had white napkins. Something was written on there, numbers.. I lifted up in the cup and with a swoop, the wind took it.

I just stared at it until I dropped the cup and ran after it.

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