Coffee by Najood AlTerkawi

Posted on April 23, 2012 by




In order to write about coffee, I must be coffee.


The thought ran through her head as she watched the world through the window of a London coffee shop.  The lights, the city, the air had all grown on her and she couldn’t let go of it just yet, though she knew she had to.


In the course of five days, she had tasted the strong rush of the underground subway like a shot of espresso.  The freedom of the icy cold air had tasted like a caramel macchiato and made her lick her lips. The streets had filled her with a thrill and lingered like the first sip of a creamy latte. Why was she forced to live in a world of bland, black coffee when all of this existed in the same universe?

As she traced the rim of the coffee cup on the table in front of her, she felt distant and alone. She turned her gaze to the rain drops outside the window and she longed to belong somewhere. In the present, she was like an empty mug on a shelf, waiting to be bought and shown the world of a million flavors of coffee. If it were as simple as losing her plane ticket, changing her name and boarding the next train to anywhere, she’d do it. She took a sip from the cup on the table and blinked in the direction of the door.


“No one’s looking. Maybe I should just do it,” she thought.


She threw her jacket over her sweater, grabbed her purse and slipped out the door of the coffee shop straight into the freezing wind. She started to walk, dodging people in the crowd. She had a few pounds in her wallet and one goal; to get lost in the flow, to be anything but what she was, to shift her focus and alter the course of her life. If she could get far enough, she could break away from the black coffee cliché she was forced to be and become anything she wanted. She could decorate herself with sugar or cream. She could choose what coffee to drink every morning, what flavor to taste, or even drown in sweet mocha if she wished. Adrenaline kicked in as rain started to sprinkle and smudge her coffee-brown eye shadow. She made it to the subway station twelve blocks from the coffee shop. Leaning against the wall and breathing heavily, she saw her reflection in a pool of rain water. She used her to sleeve to wipe away the dark makeup seeping down her face. There was a map of the underground in her purse and as she fumbled to find it, a peculiar and handsome gentleman who was obviously waiting for the next train said “running away are you?”


“S..ssort of,” she stuttered.


“You won’t find what you’re looking for right now,” he commented, as he took a sip of coffee in his hand. . “You see, everyone is born with certain taste and feel. Like coffee, they’re poured into a mug that society chooses and they live their life in that mug. Sometimes, rare people know what they want and they move out of that mug and taste new things and explore new ideas, or in this case ‘coffee’.”


“But what if I don’t want to be just one flavor of coffee? What if I want to taste like something else?” she said as she began to tear up.


“Let me ask you something,” he said “If you were to be coffee, what kind would you say you are now?”


“I ….don’t….I don’t know..,” she answered sadly


“See what I mean? You’re not sure what you are yet or what ‘flavor’ you want to be. Turn around, love. In the meantime…taste what you wish along the way.”


“All I’ve ever tasted is bitter coffee, I don’t know anything else… It’s complicated,” she looked down, shaking her head.


“Keep tasting, you’ll get something sweet someday,” he said.

She looked at him as the subway train rushed passed and her hair flew with the gust of wind it created. The doors opened and the gentleman gave her a wink and with that, he was gone. She turned around and walked back to the coffee shop. It seemed no one in the group had even noticed she was gone.


“Are you ready to head to the airport then, Judey?” one of them asked her as she came through the glass door. They must have thought she went out for a cigarette break or something.


“Yea…I just need one thing first,” she replied. She walked up to the counter and asked the cashier,


“Can I have one caramel latte to go, please?”

Judey slid four pounds and fifty pence over and grabbed the hot, fresh coffee.  She took a sip of the sweet liquid as they all stepped out into the icy wind. This would numb her for a few hours and sustain her mind against the bitter blackness at least for a little while. Maybe next time, she could get lost in the crowd of a million coffee flavors…

Posted in: Coffee