Three hundred and four days. Four hundred thirty-seven thousand, seven hundred sixty minutes. That's how long I've been waiting. No, I'm not a mastermind nor an Archimedes' descendant. I just searched it up online as I am waiting for the bus I am riding now to reach the recently renovated bus stop. I could obviously wait patiently and enjoy the liquid gold being poured over the world, but I simply do not have the patience to do so. Apparently, it is one of the characteristics of Sagittarius that my astrology-freak-best-friend always reminds me of being.
As I said, I've been waiting for over three hundred days so you can imagine what crazy things I had to do in order not to lose my mind. But this was the only time I was eager to wait. The only thing I would always willingly wait for. The reintroduction of the autumn menu in the place I could call my home without hesitation. "The Fun Bun Café". I've been questioning that choice of name from the very first second they opened, but I never questioned the coziness of this place and its ability to make you feel like you're the main character of a fairy tale.
The bus suddenly stops moving and I feel my body shaking violently due to the unexpected and unnecessarily harsh braking. I immediately realize that the driver must have a very strong leg or just a pretty slow reflex. Either way, we are at the bus stop that stands out among the old buildings with its modern design. I am the first one to run out of the stinking, crowded vehicle, almost falling down when the arm of my bag circles around my ankle, but I hop a couple times like I have some rabbit genes, exclaim a few brief apologies to everyone I accidently elbowed due to my bubbling excitement, and finally I am breathing the fresh, autumn air that despite its decreasing temperature, fills my body with warmth and comfort.
With one side of my coat falling off of my shoulder I awkwardly run towards the coffee shop that welcomes me with their usual autumn-themed stickers on the glass door. Orange leaves, shiny chestnuts, not-so-realistically-looking acorns. And obviously a huge mug of steaming coffee. I know that the taste will be even better than the view and so I don't wait even a second to push the door and step inside.
I am instantly embraced with the smell of my beloved charcoal-colored beverage and sweet honeycomb toffee. My body seems to be reacting before my mind as I am already walking towards the free table. The furniture made out of dark wood gives off the mysterious feeling, but at the same times makes me feel even more comfortable.
I grab the menu card neatly placed on the surface of the table. The texture of the hard paper fits the whole place so well, no detail is missing. If perfection existed, it would be defined as this place. At least in my eyes.
I begin scanning the first part of the list. The classics. They are always here, invariably, welcoming you like family at your old, family house. No matter when was the last time you saw them, they are waiting for you with open arms and smiles that seem to be as bright as never before.
I read the names of beverages anyways. I go through each one of them, even though at this point I have learned them all by heart. You could wake me up in the middle of the night and ask for the fourth position on The Fun Bun Café 's menu, and I would recite it like a poem.
The second part of the drinks is titled "Hello Autumn!" and I am instantly reminded of why it was so worth it to wait those three hundred and four days.
The thrill before reading it is rising. Did they add a new position? Are they going to be the same as last year? In my mundane life, this seems to be the most intense experience. Almost as if I was in a movie. I like to think I am the main character of my life. It makes me feel like a gem. The most unique, shining gem.
The first name under the two-word title is written in italic, and the letters seem to be floating, as if they were resting on the surface of a quiet and peaceful sea. They spell three words which surely spark a sense of familiarity in everyone's head. Pumpkin Spice Latte. I can already feel the bittersweet taste of the spices piling on the bottom of the glass and letting their strong flavor sink into the coffee. I know they will serve it with an aesthetically pleasing dollop of whipped cream on top. If I am lucky, they are still sprinkling crushed cacao nibs on top of it.
Underneath the most autumnal drink waits another one, the chestnut cappuccino. The mystery of this name is what draws me in the most. Is it sweet chestnut sauce? Or chestnut milk alternative? Maybe it's just a fancy name to describe the color of a drink that has absolutely nothing to do with chestnuts?
Another one makes my eyes widen in excitement a bit. Even without the drink tingling my taste buds, I can taste the sweetness of maple mixed with the slight fattiness of almond milk and a double shot of the bitter, warm espresso. I know it's the mixed taste of childhood and adulthood days. Your mind can travel between those busy mornings where coffee is the only thing that keeps you sane, and slow, Sunday mornings when as a kid you were stuffing yet another pancake glazing with maple syrup into your mouth.
The last drink wins my heart in an instant. Even though I could drink each one and I would feel equally satisfied and over the moon, there is something about the combination of salted caramel and hazelnut that makes my lips curve upwards with no effort. The salted caramel sparks the warmest memories, and the hazelnut just sounds so beautiful. I don't know what it is about that one single flavor, but I can swear my heart skips a beat whenever I hear it.
I glance at the menu card one more time, loving the way it is designed in such a magical way, before I make my way to the counter. And soon the steamy, hot coffee stands in front of me, embracing me with the sweetness and warmth that only your favorite beverage can bring. The love for coffee is definitely a different kind of emotion, such a special connection can only be present between you and the freshly brewed drink.
With one sip I can tell it's the Italian inspired espresso blend, teasing your palate with a walnut aroma, creamy peanut butter body, and milk chocolate finish. Being mixed with the flavor of sweet and salty caramel, as well as hazelnut, it makes me feel like I'm ascending. I have never enjoyed anything in my entire life as much as I enjoy this drink. I've never been so euphoric just drink a cup of coffee. Is it the flavor or the place I'm drinking it at? I can't think about it as I let the incredible taste take me to my own, coffee paradise.
As I feel warmth sliding down my throat, I can hear a commotion at the door. It's already six in the afternoon, which isn't a usual time to be drinking coffee, so I am rather surprised to see another person entering the coffee shop. I guess he must be into drinking the caffeinated beverage as much as I am since he's also sacrificing his sleep to have a cup of the bitter brew.
I suddenly snap out of my thoughts. Why am I so curious about this stranger? I didn't even see his face since the black hood shielding him from the strong wind was covering it as he entered. I shrug my shoulders, trying to avert my attention away from the tall man. No use. My eyes move to the counter as I observe his now exposed black locks. His hair reaches the middle of his nape and I can see its length as he pushes the naughty strands back with his tattooed fingers.
The mug I hold in my hand freezes at my mouth as I notice the black ink covering his skin. If there is one thing I would pay my future lover to have, it's at least one tattoo on his palm. This guy had his whole hand covered in small permanent drawings and you can only imagine what it’s doing to my head and my heart.
I snap back to reality when I realize what I'm thinking about. I must be insane. I try to drink my coffee in peace, but I eventually give up, sneakily observing the intriguing stranger. He's reading the names of beverages that are beautifully written on the blackboard above the counter until the waiter comes up to him. The place isn't big, and I can hear their conversation without intentionally eavesdropping which was my initiate idea.
"What can I get you, today?" the man behind the counter smiles genuinely. Another think I love about this place is the passion the workers have. You will never meet a grumpy, mean waiter or a barista here, no matter what day or time you're visiting.
"Can I get the last one? The hazelnut caramel one?" the strangers answers, and I can swear this is what you can hear when you enter the gates of Heaven. His voice seems to be covered in gold, it's so mesmerizing. I don't have to hear much to know this is what I want to wake up to every morning.
It takes me a moment to realize his order is the same as mine and I need to keep my inner hopeless romantic from calling this man my soulmate right here and right now.
He turns around, searching for a table that would feel the most comfortable and his eyes meet mine for a moment. It's as if someone hit an instant pause and made the world freeze, besides me and this mesmerizing man in front of me. I feel like the whole universe is suddenly hiding in his doe, galaxy eyes. They sparkle like diamonds under the warm light hanging from the ceiling. His irises seem so dark, like tourmaline. No depth of the oceans can equal to the depth of his eyes that hold mystery, magic and the feeling of home I am so crazy about.
The corners of his lips move upwards, and I can tell his smile is as beautiful as his eyes. Oh Lord, I've never seen a prettier man in my entire life! His plump lower lip contrasts so perfectly with the thin upper one. His smile must be the world's biggest and priceless treasure. I would without hesitation pay him to smile like that at me for the rest of my life.
I don't realize my heart is rushing until he breaks the soft, but intense eye contact and walks to a single-person table not far from mine. I suddenly figure out it's the most present I've felt in a long time.
Before his drink arrives, he changes his seat twice, each time getting closer to me. And I am not sure if he's aware of the emotional rollercoaster I am riding on the inside. Excitement, nervousness and joy all rush within me and I don’t know any more if I am so happy about my delicious beverage… or the presence of this man so close to me.
When the waiter severs his coffee, he is already sitting at my table, locking his eyes with me once again. I can tell we both want to stare at each other for the rest of our lives, but my rational mind starts screaming at me. I don't even know his name.
"C-can I help you?" I ask, immediately cursing myself for stuttering. I wish my personality was equipped in confidence around man, but it's definitely not the case.
"Can I sit with you?" the same sweet-as-honey voice makes me feel like I'm sitting on the cloud. I've never done that but I can bet my left arm it's the most comfortable and joyful experience a regular human being could have.
"Y-yes, sure" I stutter again before a quiet sigh leaves my lips.
I know this is a chance I can't miss. I know I've been whining to my diary every day how much I want a change, how much I want something new to happen or someone new to walk into my life. I have fate blessing me with the most incredible opportunity, yet my hands are trembling and I can't manage to say a word. I can only look into his eyes that already seem to be telling a thousand words, more I could ever produce with my vocal organs.
I am so afraid of using the word that lingers in my mind ever since I laid my eyes on him. I want to admit it, I want to take a step forward, but the nervousness keeps my mouth zipped. The feeling I've dreamt of for years, but held at bay most of the time is finally entering my heart and all I can do is think of the quickest getaway from the pressure.
That is until I finally turn my mind off. I turn everything that's not my heart off. I don't let any doubts or hesitations pour in as I allow my heart to speak. I allow it to feel. I allow it to fall in love. Fall in love with a stranger, with his golden voice, with his galaxy eyes and everything else that's still a mystery to me. I allow my eyes to comfortably lock with his. I allow his gaze to take my heart as it is, to do whatever he wants to do with it. I know he wants it too. I knew it right from the start, my intuition knew it so well. And I finally allow it to take the lead. It knows where to go. It knows that wherever I am going, the soul in front of me is also heading, and so we can now take the journey together.
"What's your name?"