Over a Cup of Coffee: A Short Story


coffee-cute-hipster-indie-Favim.com-363249“But what words are there?”

He utters this over a cup of coffee, staring at a floor so intensely that he must be able to see the stars behind it.

I don’t want to distract him. Instead, I take a sip from the Styrofoam cup that hums warmth beneath my own chin, and appreciate the sunlight that leaks from the crack in the lacy curtains. It falls pleasantly along the left side of his face, so that he almost appears lit from the inside, as though it is his light filling the room.

Sharply, his eyes adjust to mine. “What words are there?”

I hold him there, suspended in my gaze. It’s impossible to know what he sees in me, but as long as he sees it, it must be real.

His entire being shifts when he cracks a smile. “Oh, there are so many words.”

His fingertips rest gently across the surface of the table, just inches from mine. He refrains from drumming them; they rest, just so, soft and clean, centering him.

“Fantastic, beautiful, perfect,” he sighs, content and himself. “Splendid, lovely, irreplaceable. All things that mean good.”

As he lifts the steaming cup to his lips, a cool evening breeze rushes in to kiss me. Too soft, too ethereal, to be anything but a part of this moment, it heightens my senses so that I notice the sparkles in his eyes.

“Have you ever been in love?” he asks me.

It’s not important, so I don’t answer. Mostly, I am focused on him, precisely as he is right now. By ignoring everything else, I can preserve this moment.

“Words are so important,” he breathes. There is a longing like love in his voice. “But sometimes they’re not the most important.”

A few minute details of him catch my eye most of all. I watch the bones of his wrists as he moves his hands, the curvature of his lips at rest, the illusionary rainbows glinting of his eyelashes in what little midday sunlight the curtains allows.

Pulling the curtain aside, he whispers, “Sometimes, you have to sacrifice the lyrics, and just listen to the song.” Deliberate movements pull him away from the view outside and into the room with me. There is a new distinction in the atmosphere now: the room, freshly flooded with light, fills every part of his face and figure, creating, through him, a candle as bright and as steady as the sun, burning from within.

From corner to corner, his frame fills with a warmth, a love, so intense that it explodes out of him and carries itself over to me. There is nothing but love in his eyes, and it floats straight from his heart.

“My god, love,” he begins.

I don’t let him finish his sentence.

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