The coffee flows down his throat, swimming in its smoothness. He holds the ceramic cup tightly and relishes the coffee’s warmth and richness. Kyle gazes awkwardly at the barista. Whenever a pretty girl is kind to him, even remotely, he falls in love.
He gets more sugar and mixes it mindfully into his drink.
He lets the coffee cool just right. It is warm but not hot, creamy but not milky.
He wishes he could tell her, “Let’s have a coffee after your shift. I would really like to get to know you better.”
Never in a million years would Kyle have the courage to ask her out. He is painfully shy and a rejection would be too much to bear.
Kyle props his feet on a chair and takes another slow drink. He doesn’t like a cold brew or iced coffee. He doesn’t like decaf or coffee that is flavored with strange ingredients like pumpkin or maple bacon.
He gets another refill. He stirs in a little more cream. He watches the swirl of the coffee and the soothing silence that it makes.
He notices the barista again. She is sweet like his coffee. She enjoys seeing her customers happy. Kyle believes her motives are pure and she is not friendly just for the tips.
He closes his eyes and imagines her whispering, “I get off from work at four. Why don’t we go to another coffee shop?” she asks. “I hear the one on De LaVina is good.”
The thought swirls around his head like the movement of stirred coffee.
He takes the last sip and puts his laptop back into the case. He wipes the coffee residue from his face, approaches the barista with the hope of catching her eye and perhaps offering a goodbye wave. When she doesn’t glance back, he sadly looks away and thinks to himself that she’s probably a tea drinker and doesn’t really like the taste of coffee anyway.