“Black Coffee”

“So now you drink black coffee?” the boy asked smiling almost jokingly.

“Yes, without sugar.” The girl replied confidently.

“Why? I mean, what happened?”

“I finally decided to embrace my dark and bitter side.” the girl replied with a proud smile.

The boy and the girl were meeting after a decade, yet nothing had changed. The girl was still the chirpy and talkative one. Something the boy had always admired about her. In fact, listening to her talk was once his favorite part of the day. The girl’s stamina to go on talking did amaze him even today. All he ever had to ask, “Then what happened?” And she could go on for hours without a break. Little did the boy realize that the girl was this way only with him. She just had to tell him everything she was thinking or feeling. Their friendship was least understood and mostly judged for reasons we won’t be discussing in this short story.

And so, coming back to the girl’s reply, the boy laughed a little. He was right, the girl had not changed after all. Then again neither had the boy. He still had the cool patience for her ranting and drama. A trait the girl both admired and hated in him. Though it was his smile that was her most favorite thing about him.  

The highly successful, no, we are not going there. We will only talk about what the boy and the girl are feeling and nothing about their incredibly successful professional or extremely disastrous personal lives. This story is about the boy and the girl meeting after a decade, that is it.

They were now adults and so as the grown age demands certain level of maturity, there was something stopping them from being themselves completely. Contrary to what we are taught, being an adult is no fun. You must make highly confusing life decisions you have no knowledge of. You must be responsible and calm even when life hurls utter chaos at you. The list is long, so let’s not go there. Being an adult is no fun, ask any grown-up.

But today they chose to silence the noises of judgment and critique around and inside them. And decided to just talk. The way they were back then before they grew up into ‘lost’ adults. The ones who knew each other’s insides too well irrespective of the tough exteriors projected to the world. Fears, dreams and desires were all too well known between the two. It was like coming home after a very extended lockdown.

Everything was different yet familiar. The girl looked at the boy waiting for just another gesture and then thought to herself, ‘at least I can still make him laugh’. And honestly, she really wanted to have a nice hot cup of coffee too. It was just that kind of day.

The girl continued her yapping and this time there was more chirpiness in her voice. It was almost impossible to stop herself from smiling too much.“So, as I was saying, I am accepting my dark side. I mean I did always preferred black coffee to anything else. But was not so sure back then. Also, the other thing is any time I ask for black coffee, everyone looks at me like I am some ‘know it all’. Like I have my whole life under control. Can you believe it? Me, under control. But no one realizes how clueless I am. I am finally so comfortable in the darkness that even when I am offered a light in the form of soy latte, café mocha, whatever, I still go for black.”

The boy and the girl were now walking at the same pace. The boy was busy watching their steps in sync even though she was much shorter than him, she was still up to his pace. The girl was busy talking and looking ahead into nothing. And then she abruptly stopped and asked, “What? Am I talking too much? You know I still do it. You want me to stop talking? Just say it, ok?”

The boy looked up at the girl and smiled like it was nothing to even discuss. “You were saying how you don’t like to try anything even when there are options. You are comfortable with your darkness.” the boy repeated, calmly reassuring her. And then he remembered his nickname for the girl, “non-stop radio”. Which played just one station all the time, “the daily updates from the life of the girl”. He smiled one more time calming the nervous voice of the girl.

He had a decade long update to catch up and had no intention to stop any time soon.

The girl happily went back to talking and the boy wondered how much he had missed her voice all these years. Their conversation was another kind of comfort they both had been yearning for.

The evening grey clouds too were now in sync with the mood for the radio with a side of a cup of black coffee. 

2 responses to ““Black Coffee””

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