Unrequited Love

It was around 1:00pm and Starbucks was alive with the hum of voices, sips, and positive vibes radiating from the Friday sun through the open blinds against the windows. Patrons were buzzing with energy, happy to drink in one final dose of caffeine before winding down the work week and welcoming in the weekend like a long lost friend. Pleasantly content, I couldn’t help but grin as I sipped my venti mocha and felt it warm me from the inside out. I took comfort in the wooden chair, one leg crossed while the other leg dangled off the edge, my black Converse sneaker barely grazing the tiled floor and my back towards the front window so that during breaks, I could look up and witness every interesting individual Starbucks had ushered in.

I was focused and plugged in, in every sense of the word. The dingy, white cord of my MacBook charger traveled from an outlet low on the wall up onto the table and into the port adjacent to the one my earphones were plugged into. The sounds of the curated TGIF playlist on Spotify pulsated through my eardrums in tandem with the caffeine through my veins. I had hit a rhythm, bending Photoshop to my will as I put together designs for a new client — my vision concentrated like that of a sniper, narrowed to the 15” scope of my vibrant screen.

Sensing unusual motion in my peripherals, I pulled away from my trans and looked up, adjusting focus to find the Barista standing in front of me — mouth moving to the sound of the Nicki Minaj. I plucked each earphone out to hear him saying my name “Brittany…”

I smiled apologetically, my cheeks red from mild embarrassment, “Sorry, I’m so sorry…I don’t mean to be rude, I couldn’t hear you..”

“Yeah, I figured.” He smiled back. It wasn’t until now that I realized he was holding what looked like the world’s most delicious grande caramel frappuccino, topped with a fluffy layer of whipped cream and just the right amount of caramel drizzle. “So, hey…uh..we made this extra by accident…do you want it?”

Under any other circumstance, I’d have celebrated this kind of gift with solitary applause and annoying high-pitched sounds of utter gratitude and excitement, but I had to decline due to an unwelcome allergy. “Wow, thank you! That’s so nice! But…I’m allergic to dairy, so I can’t have it,” I said, regretfully. “But I bet they’d want it…” I gestured towards two girls studying at a table near me. Papers sprawled out on the table, textbooks open, they jolted into focus as soon as they realized they were the subject of conversation.

The barista stood there, smiling, happy to offer a free treat and polish someone’s week off with a tasty pick-me-up. “Oh, uhm…us? I don’t know….uh…well…” The other girl quickly interjected, abruptly declining the offer without reason. “I’m okay, but go ahead. You should have it.”

“Well uhm, I just, I mean…I guess, okay…” The barista handed her the drink and she accepted it reluctantly, murmuring a thank you as weak as her piss poor attitude. She looked at the drink perplexed — as if she’d never seen a frappuccino before, and certainly wasn’t excited about trying it. Finally, she brought her lips to the straw and took a sip. I was on the edge of my seat, eager to be satisfied by her happy reaction to this scrumptious surprise. Instead, I felt my jaw fall open and my facial expression morph from interest to disgust in a matter of seconds. I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. I watched, offended — not at all trying to hide my blatant expression — as I saw her cringe and make a face, “Ich…so sweet. I guess I’ll try to enjoy this.”

The drink sat there, scorned and unappreciated, trying its best to impress and fulfill its potential. I wanted to save it. I wanted to snatch it right from her grimy little pretentious hands and yell about how she doesn’t deserve it. I wanted to pour my drink on her face and knock all of her papers on the floor and throw her textbook in the garbage. I wanted to turn her notebook into a trampoline and gleefully jump up and down on her hard work until it was useless. I wanted to shout at her to leave and never come back. But instead I just sat there, staring. Speechless.

I’m pretty sure this is the kind of person Alfred Pennyworth was talking about when he said, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

I don’t know who you are, but you’re no friend of mine.

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