Mumbled voices brewing conversation, filling tall ceilings with talk of plans and hearts and disappointments and she-said-that!s and the occasional eruption of laughter. Whispers bounce off red brick walls. Coffee machines hiss as puffs of steam curl in clouds. A husky aroma fills the air. A mix of caramel syrups and Colombian blend. Mis-matched chairs pair up at wooden tables topped with green hydrangeas. Hand-painted abstract art peers over a couple taking turns nodding at each other’s opinions, cutting pieces out of an oozing strawberry crêpe. Wooden floors creak as the lone waitress mans tables, walking briskly, twirling and dancing and weaving through disheveled tables and chairs. Hair wisped out of a loose bun. There are no clocks, time is slow. A cold breeze sneaks its way in as the bell above the door rings. Backs cringe, shoulders rise, noses scrunch in unison. They nestle back into warm drinks.
Vanilla Skinny Latte: Rich, full-bodied espresso blended with creamy steamed milk and vanilla syrup.
Long hair pulled back in a clip on a mid-morning. Leggings, tall boots with a red zipper. Hourglass curvy. Flips hair light as the whipped cream on top, the layers fall into place, framing the face. Macbook pro. Young hands with no sign of age or manual labor. No scars. She is timeless. Little stress has touched her head. Her shoes are not worn. Her clothes are firmly pressed. Her nails polished. Her eyebrows frosted with white eyeshadow and lips drizzled with lip gloss. She is tall. She is pink. Chambray chevron top. She skims though Pinterest for a break from studying for a business class. She loudly greets friends that walk in, they squeal. They all look the same. She has a kind smile, listens with focused eyes to rapid words. She will study international relations. She will pick up the family business. She will have a good life. She will not know hardship other than the politics of room color. She is pure, and skinny, with vanilla white skin.
Iced Caramel Macchiato: Espresso combined with vanilla-flavored syrup, milk and caramel sauce over ice.
Plain cut hair, no layers, no make up. Soft face, thin nose, old bootcut jeans, tennis shoes, pull over (not oversized), big backpack that pulls her down to the floor, the straps so worn it could snap. No patterns. No frills. Small frame glasses for a small eyes. Eyes that dart from graph paper to computer screen. The shot of espresso will get her through the day, through the tests, through the hours of homework to sustain a 4.0. She’s one of three girls in a class of sixty guys. Math just makes sense. Her hair is pulled back, tucked behind unpierced ears.
White Chocolate Mocha: espresso with white chocolate flavored sauce and steamed milk. Topped with sweetened whipped cream.
Tall, dark, and handsome. Blue eyes. He stands, hands in pockets, with a stance that’s calm, reflective and confident. He peers at the board, reading it like a book, carefully. Cardigan, chords, and chacos. Newspaper in hand. Long arms that would give a good hug. He seems like the kind that gives hugs when greeting old friends. Deep voice. Strong hands with blue veins that match the American Express card. A white boy. A nice boy, but not a man. He takes his drink and turns. Glances up at his path. Makes eye contact and holds it. The top right corner of his mouth draws up. A sweet smile to a pretty stranger.
Black: dark, robust roast without cream or sugar. Coffee in its natural form. Endless servings (bottomless).
Wrinkled hands, wrinkled chin, wrinkled forehead. Sagging gray eyes that used to be blue. Red bow tie, khakis, dockers, pinstriped blue button up to the top, brown suit jacket. Hands clasped. Scuffed gold ring flickers in the window light. He stares at the table, the fake marble swirls. The white table to match white hair and thick eyebrows. He breaths in and out, a large nose sucking in all the air it can at once. Deep, long breaths. Deep sighs. He stares at the seat across from him like someone’s sitting in it. He smirks and shakes his head, looks at his ring. His eyes sink deeper. He sits back as the waitress hands him the usual.