In a cup of cappucino…

Posted: June 30, 2012 in Speech delivery

This is the first short story that I wrote in english… I was dedicating this story for my friends in Nijmegen… It was a pure blessing to know them all…

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My best friend Hendra from Indonesia ever taught me once about how to read people’s mind. He said the way people prepare their coffee would describe what is hanging in their mind. The theory seems silly and worthless, but I do not know why it still stuck there and never leave. Maybe in my deepest consciousness, I do believe it. It is definitely not the first time we witness truth wrapped in silly package, right? People did think Galileo crazy when he announced that earth is round, didn’t they?

I have opened a coffee café since 2 years ago. I adore coffee, well cappuccino actually. There is something unique inside its taste. I was introduced by it right before I decided to open this coffee café. I named it Bodenstein, a German name. Well it does feel weird since I open this café in Holland. History definitely does a great job on emphasizing this peculiarity.

Oh ja…, before I forget, my name is Jacques. My mother has certain admiration on France, which definitely will explain my name.

Back to the theory, Hendra may be proud of his theory if he sits here with me right now in this café. He certainly will be able to develop a descriptive study upon my customers to prove his theory. Yeah… if you know Hendra as good as I do, you will also definitely sure that he will be happy with it. He likes to read people. Well at least it positively better than reading thousand chapters of bio-psycho-molecular. That is my study majority by the way.

“Morgen.”

“Morgen Petra. How is life?” Petra was my first customer. Two years ago, it was a hard-rainy day. She came and ordered a cup of coffee. Afterwards she said that I made a great coffee and she promised that she will come by to my café at least once a day. She still keeps her promise till now. She is so trustable.

“It still morning, Jacques. Life is still too short to tell. I was not really sleeping well by the way.”

“I hope it is not because of my coffee.”

“Ah, I hope it is. Then at least I have someone to sue.”

“Seriously…,” I say impulsively.

Petra gives a simple slight smile, “Insomnia. That’s what it is.”

“Huh, thanks God then. Here is your coffee. One spoon of sugar like usual,” I say as I serve it on her table.

“I think I will need one more spoon of it. World does circle too fast around me today.”

“Busy huh?” I respond.

“I got examination this afternoon, discussion on my research proposal two hours from now, hectic job in the hospital in the evening and presentation to prepare for tomorrow. Well, no… I am not busy. It ever became worse.”

“Then, be my guess,” I serve a cup of sugar on her table. “Enjoy your coffee.”

“Thanks. You’re my savior, who keeps me awake every morning.” I smile and then go back to my spot, coffee-maker table.

The theory relies on sugar. It describes your state of life on certain moment. Briefly I can say that the more you put sugar in your coffee, the more miserable the life you have. So simple huh…??? Well you are definitely going to be really curios if I say that Hendra took almost 8 hours to describe his theory. Well, he did use broad perspective, sophisticated examples, and astonishing approach. 

The girl in the corner is Noor. She asked for a pure black coffee, with nothing but coffee itself. She keeps on smiling every time she sips her coffee. I just know without even ask that her life is perfect. She needs no sugar to light her day. She has no complains. Life is so faultless in her eyes.

The guy near the door is Rob. He stares at his laptop continuously since two hours ago. His tired eyes like begging for a peaceful bed rest. He had ordered four glass of coffee. Each time he ordered, he put more sugar in his coffee. And now he is asking for more coffee.

“Here is your coffee.”

“Thank you,” he says as he put five spoons of sugar in his fifth coffee. Now instead of taking coffee with sugar, he had taken sugar with coffee. Not a fascinating way to start your day. Horrible it is.

“Hard day I suppose.”

He stares at me impulsively. “Sorry, yes Jacques. I am pretty tired now.”

“Well maybe you need several hours of sleep, Rob.”

“Sleep? Oh… not now. Got to finish this report first.”

“Should I serve you some bread? You have not had your breakfast right?”

“Yes, that will be nice.”

Rob has just finished his study. We were in the same faculty. Now he is doing his internship in one of the finest laboratory in Netherlands. He is so lucky since his supervisor asked him to join his experiments. Yes, not only one single experiment but several of them. It is definitely a success breakthrough for a fresh graduate. Success that cost you your sleep time.

Oh dear… what a word it is… success. A word that being run after by billions of people in this world. Some rely on money, on their mind, and some only on their sweat. Success… what a delicate word to describe happiness, since people often forgets what relies behind it. Yes, we call it… sacrifice.

“Morning, what would you like to order?”

“Hi, I am Paulien. I am new in this city.” She nicely smiles and offers me a hand-shake.

“Nice to meet you, I am Jacques,” I answer as I shake her hand.

“Would you like a coffee, latte or cappuccino?”

“Hm… do you serve tea?”

“Well yes I am. Would you like green tea, fruit tea, British tea or…”

She cut my sentence and say, “Any tea will be fine. Please choose me one best tea to start my day.”

Nice customer I think. I only had few customers that like to order tea. Hendra said there are only two possibilities when someone orders tea. One is absolutely obsessed with health or has a philosophic reason for background. Tea is light, not like coffee. She probably had a light life or vice-versa; she tried to walk on her tough life lightly. She rejects my offer for sugar. I think it defines her characteristic as a tea lover. She is simply happy enough without sugar.

The girl in the center table is Babs. We are friend, best friend. She ordered two appleflaps about half an hour ago, without drink. She ate them slowly as she read her new-bought novel, The Atonement. Now she walks towards me, smiles and sits in front of me.

“Would you like something to drink, Babs?”

“Only if you drink with me.”

“Oh… you know I am working.”

“Well, the café is pretty quite this morning.”

“Yeah, but…”

A girl is rushing suddenly to my coffee-maker table. “Sorry I am late. I got to drive my boyfriend to the airport this morning.”

“It’s OK Aimee.” She is Aimee, one of my staff. My café is pretty success since I already had 15 staff that work based on shift 7 days a week.

“Well thanks then. Oh hi Babs. Long time no see. How are you?”

“Me? I am fine. How about you?”

“Well, Jacques is less grumpy lately, so I guess my life is fine.”

“I am here Aimee,” I respond.

“Hei…, don’t start being grumpy. I just gave you my complement,” she replies with a smile. “Well, as my apologize why don’t you sit together while I serve you both.”

“Well, thanks Aimee. I have asked Jacques to do that but he kept on searching for excuses,” says Babs.

“That’s my pleasure. In fact I can force Jacques later to pay me an extra tip for caught him of duties in café,” answers Aimee.

“I am here Aimee. Stop acting like I am somewhere in the outer-space.”

“I am just kidding Jacques, and stop being grumpy. So, what you both like to have?”

“Two cappuccinos please,” says Babs as she fixate her gaze deep on me.

“I am on my way,” says Aimee as she rushing to serve our cappuccino.

Cappuccino is served few minutes later. We spent some time gazing on each other. Babs sips her cappuccino as she start talking.

“How is life?”

“Fine.”

“Cappuccino… I actually hate it, you know that. This drink is only meant for complicated people.”

“Yes, I know.”

That is what also Hendra ever said to me. Cappuccino is a complex drink. It has a thicker suspension than coffee, because of its milk. Cappuccino lover used to stare life in an intricate perspective. Their way of thought is unusual. They often rely on heart. They may move as fluid as coffee or just stagnant as milk. Hendra said it is fascinating to read the mind of Cappuccino lover. Their composite mind and thorny thoughts are their peace and comfort. And those reasons are also Hendra’s reasons why he likes to chat with me.

“Amelie… your mind is still fixated on her?”

“Always, she is the one who introduced me to cappuccino.”

“Yes, she is a nice a girl. But you need to change. You need to move on. I hate to see you stay in despair.”

“I am not Babs. I am OK. I like the way I live now.”

“What life? How? Taking time off in your study and build a café? No more hanging out with friends? Even with me, your best friend?”

“I need some time to relax.”

“It is almost a year Jacques. You have turned into someone I had never known. Please… bring me back my old Jacques. My best friend, Jacques.”

“I can’t turn back time Babs. I just can’t.”

There is silence between us for a few moments. Babs put two spoons on sugar in her cappuccino. I am not. I never use sugar in my cappuccino.

“The cappuccino definitely had penetrated your brain. Maybe you should stop drinking this.”

I give her a small delicate smile. “Like I said before Babs, I simply cannot turn back the time. And I will never ask for that even once.”

“You got me tired Jacques.” She pissed of as she put more sugar in her cappuccino. “Huh…, now I ruin my cappuccino. It’s too sweet. Well, I have to leave anyway. Bye.”

“Thanks for coming.”

Babs is hurrying to leave but I catch her hand to hold her attention. “I am OK Babs. I will always be OK, don’t worry about me.”

“I can’t Jacques. I can’t. I am your friend.” Then Babs releasing her hand and leave.

I sit there still gazing in my cappuccino. As you can see, Hendra’s theory is not working on me. Well, Hendra did half drunk when he told me this theory. So it is logical if his theory is not a complete truism. It did have errors just like his consciousness at that moment I guess.

Amelie died one year ago because of an accident, car accident. She drives too fast at night from Amsterdam on her way to see me. It is so ironic since incidence level of car accident in Holland is pretty low. It is even more ironic with Amelie, my true love, my fiancé as its victim. However still… how miserable I feel nowadays, I never put sugar on my cappuccino. I think I never will. It is just faultless the way it is.

Like Amelie ever told me, Life is like a cup of cappuccino. Its bitter, its sweet, its perfect.

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