Cup of Love | a prose
I jolted up immediately. My hair is in a mess, and my breath would make even the least judgemental person alive judge me. As I turned to check the clock, which was so conveniently hung right above the window, the morning sun ray stabbed me right in the eye. I shut my eyes with so much force it would have crushed someone’s hopes and dreams. I was enclosed in darkness and after a wave of dizziness, I found myself in the middle of space. It was spectacular, completely by myself with no distractions and most importantly, no humans. It felt like paradise. However, it was short-lived. A pungent smell invaded my nostrils, and I was forced out of paradise, back into reality. Turns out my dog decided that today was a fine day and urinated all over my room. “Woof woof” it barked, and left its tongue out of his mouth, allowing its saliva to drip onto the ground. I frowned and let out a sigh of disappointment, something I was very accustomed to. Just as I thought the day could not have gone any worse than it already was, I bumped my head on the wall behind me as I was getting out of my bed. “Watch it, idiot!” grumbled my neighbour. I eventually mustered the courage and punched the wall in retaliation, something which I had always wanted to do in the two years I’ve been in this apartment.
My parents were involved in a shooting, which involved drugs, money and, you’ve guessed it — the police. It wasn’t much, considering where we were from, South Tucson, Arizona. My parents were killed while trying to sell a whole range of drugs — cocaine, heroin, ecstasy. You name it, and they would have it. They tried to keep this a secret from me, but given the environment I grew up from nothing can be hidden. Especially these things. I was told to leave this city and travel anywhere within the country, anywhere that is safer than this “shit hole”, as quoted from my late parents and make a life that is not built on crime. After a week long of travelling, I ended up in this small, thin-walled apartment. It was nothing special, but at least it was safer than where I came from. I was in the heart of New York City, the heart of the most populous city in the whole of America.
I took a long time in the shower, just trying to figure out how to make myself get over all the presumably bad luck that had befallen unto me in just ten minutes. Maybe a cup of coffee at the cafe down the street and a walk to to the park to work on my novel, or just simply draw the view of the city from the top of the hill? I thought to myself. I got changed and grabbed my sketch book, which also happens to be my notebook too and headed out of the apartment.
The cafe was packed as usual, and I squeezed in line to get my dose of caffeine, determined to not be upset for the rest of the day. “Hello Sir, what can I get for your young soul?” The cashier was a girl, maybe in her twenties. She had blonde hair and wore light makeup, which made her features shine under the same ruthless sun ray that turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. “What can I get for you Sir?” she repeated, and I was brought, once again, back to reality. I noticed the line of businessmen and businesswomen all staring at me, all having the frown — the same one I am so accustomed to doing. A cup from you to me would be perfect, just a cup served to me with love, your love. “Cafe Au Lait, please. Thank you.” “That would be six-fifty.” I dug my pockets for my wallet, which was not there. After what felt like ages of sifting through the same pockets, I frowned and let out a sigh of disappointment and smiled sheepishly at her. “Of all the days in a year, of all the days.” A man, probably in his fifties muttered under his breath loud enough for me to hear. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.” “It’s alright, just remember to bring your brain along with the money next time you come.” She laughed, and carried on to take my order. I watched as she got down to business, going through each and every step so comfortably, although to her it might be nothing special, given that she has probably been doing this for a long time that it had become muscle memory for her. She was clearly judging me intensely from the scene I created just now. She was even more beautiful when I looked at her from the side. Together with the sun ray, her light makeup made her features stand out from the already beautiful personality of hers. “Cafe Au Lait!” Our eyes met when she passed me the cup of love, her love. It felt like we knew each other, and the whole cafe was suddenly empty, leaving the both of us alone in the most populous city in the whole of America. Sparks flew, and a wave of electricity went through me, the same ones when I hear a song so good that it touches me. That was how good she was, amidst all the bad analogy and the grumpy, soulless businessmen and businesswomen, she made me forget all of the mishaps that happened to me.
I was rudely interrupted by a cough from the same crotchety man behind me. I was once again dragged back to reality, the third time today. “Thanks a lot” I managed, and I scurried off to the park. The Iconic yellow cabs, the occasional arguments over trivial matters and pigeons which could fly as high as the skyscrapers and vice versa were just some of the sights en route to the park. With a sketchbook on one hand, a cup of love on the other, I walked the streets of New York City, donning a sweatshirt paired with a pair of pre-loved sweatpants and a pair of high-cut sneakers to top it all off.
As I sat on a bench, I looked around me. Several groups of delinquents with small knives were all over the place. I sat there and closed my eyes, the only barrier between myself and reality. I thought of better days, and how I could lead a normal life, without all of these worries. The occasional sound of gunshots would pierce my eardrums, but not enough to stop me from drifting off to sleep on a bench in South Tucson, Arizona.
As I sat on a bench, I looked around me. Pigeons and happy couples take the park by storm as I took a deep breath of assuredness and exhaled the past. I thought about her, about her smile, her supposed insult which I took as a joke, her shining features, and just her overall beauty. I looked at the cup and smiled uncontrollably. For the next three hours, I sat on the bench and drew the view in front of me. Or so I thought. I looked at my sketchbook and realised what I did for the past three hours. I drew a portrait of her, the angel, the producer of the cup of love, the one who, amidst all the soulless businessmen and businesswomen, was cheerful and never once displayed a sign of unhappiness. I stared hard at the view, and tried to find any feature which was somehow related to her in any way, but to no avail. I drew this all based on memory, the face which shone under the sun ray, the side view of beauty, all of this based on memory. This was when I realised that I was in deep love with her. With that, I drifted to sleep on a bench.
The smell of smoke was overwhelming. I woke up to uncontrollable coughing and struggled to catch my breath. I looked behind me and there it was, a burning Mexican restaurant. A group of delinquents was back in action as they set fire to the restaurant, killing the owner in the process. It seemed like ages since the fire started, but there was no sign of any ambulance, fire engine or even the police. I frowned, and let out a sigh of disappointment and walked briskly back home to the smell of smoke. This time, it was my parents smoking marijuana. If there was one thing in the world that I could not stand, it was the smell of marijuana. I fainted.
The smell of roasted coffee beans was extremely strong. Somewhere in my heart, I felt something I could not comprehend, and I jolted up immediately. “Wow, such a beauty.” I was stunned. I turned around and there she was. She was dressed in her work attire, but she let her hair down and had a sandwich in her hand. “Hey,” was all I could muster. My cheeks were flushed, and there was a long silence before she broke it. “I was referring to me just now by the way, just in case you were wondering.” We both laughed. This was another thing i loved about her — her sense of humour. We spent the next hour introducing ourselves, and I realised how much we had in common. We were both from South Tucson, Arizona, her mother is Hispanic while her father is American, making her half Hispanic. I wondered why I hadn’t noticed her before.
Her lunch hour was up, and she had to head back to the cafe, while I had to get back to my apartment as the heat was becoming unbearable. With that, we parted ways, but not before we exchanged phone numbers and promised to meet up in the near future. True enough, we met after she finished work and we had dinner together. This was the first of the many times we would meet up for meals and grow closer together with each meal. I learnt more about her and her background, and she learnt mine, and we both were astonished at the similarity. One thing which struck me was how she claimed she was never one to judge people, with the exception of my embarrassing scene, as she was in no position to judge others as she did not have to go through the things others might have gone through. At this point of time, all I could think of was how this was a match made in heaven, and that all this was fate. I couldn’t believe everything that I went through with her. I thought of my past, the problems that we faced as a family back in South Tucson, Arizona and I thought of hers, and I could relate to most of it. I ran away from reality back in South Tucson, from the numerous problems that plagued the city to this wonderful place called New York City. Now I am running away again, this time with the least judgemental person alive, the girl from the cafe, the cup of love, from reality.