The door slid open and a gust of wind blew in. Almost immediately, I looked up from the counter to see a middle-aged man entering the café, his eyes trying hard to adjust in this environment. I was surprised. Our café was the most suitable and perfect for having morning tea or evening coffee. Our lights were the most appropriate according to the time of the day, bright yellow in the morning, light blue in the evening. Right now our café was blinking yellow, plus the sunshine shining on our glass door. Frowning, I bent back to mixing different ingredients in a glass. Soon enough, I heard someone clearing his throat at the front counter. Laura received his order. I could hear a sort of confusion in her voice and a slightly hoarse and uncertain voice answering. There was no need to ask the problem as almost immediately Laura came to me and threw up her hands in exasperation.
‘Can’t handle this man, sorry. You’ve got to ask him now. I don’t understand what he’s trying to say. He just says he want a ‘googy dossi’. Now what in the world is that. I told him we do not sell, whatever it was, here, but he won’t understand. Can you handle this costumer? I’ll finish what you were doing. She told me, looking down at my unfinished mixture of drinks.’
‘No thanks, you better not touch this. This might be dangerous.’ I warned her. ‘I’ll be back in a minute.’
I left her standing there muttering to herself something about,’ never in my life heard of it’ and’ been working in a café for years.’
I reached the front counter and looked at the man closely for the first time. He was normal, which surprised me. Maybe in his mid-forties. He was looking around bored, waiting for his drink. His eyes flicked multiple times on the lights as though feeling irritated by them. As it was my idea for the lights, I felt self-conscious.
‘Yes sir. How can I help you.?’ I asked politely.
‘All I ordered was a ‘googy dossi’. What’s the deal in it? Don’t you have it hear?’ He grumbled, intrigued by the delay.
‘Sir, can you repeat your order. I’m afraid I have heard of the drink googy dossi.’ I asked, trying to maintain my tolerance.
‘You don’t have it? He howled like a baby, attracting the attention of half of the people in our café.
He glanced over my shoulder as though suspecting something. Then he muttered, ‘thought I smelled it there.’ Before I could ask what, he continued in a controlled voice, ’You know the drink which’s color is orangish and it tastes like uh…. leaves.?’ He asked eagerly?
‘No sir. I’m so absolutely sorry. All we have is coffee and tea and apple cider and if you want, things like kahwa.’ I finished, looking at him for his decision.
‘You mean you don’t have ‘Doso huni’? Or ‘Poju kipla’? Or…...or ‘Afsr tums’?’ he asked going wild.
This time I really yelled my head off,’ Sir, I am sorry. I have been a café attendant for so long but have not heard of any of these….’ I searched for a suitable word. ‘liquid refreshments.’ I finished.
The man was also driven crazy by my answer and all the people were looking at us arguing.
‘How long have you been a café attendant, huh? Not more than some years, right? Of course you won’t know these names.’ He told me, then continued to himself muttering, ‘Who am I kidding.’
It was a moment’s silence as I flattened back my hair and tried to appear calm. ‘Who was this guy and how old was he.’ I thought. I looked over and saw Laura staring at us, her mouth hanging open. Of course, he thought she knew all about drinks.
Then the man spoke.
‘You, girl. He told me in a low voice. ‘Go home to your parents and ask if they remember either of these drinks.’ With that he swept past everyone and reached the door. Before he left, he added one thing which left me disgruntled and fuming.
He said, ’By the way, these lights are annoying. Thankfully we didn’t have them when we were young. Try removing them. Your café will have a lot people then.’ He said, focusing on the word your.
Without waiting for an answer, he left the café, satisfied at my bitter expression because he had just insulted my café, and leaving everyone in silence.
‘Mom? Dad?’ I raised my voice for my parents to hear. We were having dinner together.
Fall was always special for my mom. She cooked us meals trying to somehow connect them with fall.
Today we had toasted ravioli in the shape of leaves. Mom also made us Apple cider from the apples I picked myself. I knew I could never learn cooking like mom does.
‘Hmm?’ both answered at once.
‘Have you ever heard a drink called uh…... ‘googi dossi’? I asked, trying to get the image of that man out of my head. I expected them to say ‘nope’ or ‘never heard of it’ so I was genially surprised when my dad looked up from his ravioli and with twinkling eyes told me, ’Course, it was the best drink of our time.’
As to confirm, he looked at mom and she nodded too. ‘Pity they don’t sell it anymore.’
‘Wait…. you’re saying that you’ve ever heard of a drink named googi dossi? And actually drunk it?’ I asked, sitting on the edge of my chair and trying to remember the name of the other drinks.
‘Doso huni? Poju kipla? Afsr tums?’ I asked, concentrating hard.’ You’ve drunk these drinks?’ I asked them.
My mom looked up amazed. ‘How in the world do you know them?’ She asked.
‘There was a costumer in my café today.’ I paused.
‘Wow!’ My father interrupted. ‘Finally a costumer came into your café.’ He said, laughing.
‘Dad!’ I laughed. ‘So, he asked for these drinks and when I told him that we don’t have them, he was furious and he screamed at me and told me to go home and ask my parents about it.’ I continued. ‘So if I take it correct, when you guys were young, you drank these drinks, right?’ I asked.
‘You’re a real scholar, you. How did you know.’ My dad joked again.
Laughing along with him, I asked my mom. ‘What type of names are these and who made these drinks? Why are they extinct?’
My mom looked at me, her eyes serious which willed me to think.
‘Why are they not being made anymore?’ I repeated.
My mom sighed. ‘They were the drinks of fall. They were sold in the following years after they were made only in one café. No other people knew the recipe. After a while, they were stopped being made.’
‘Why? Do you know who were the sellers? I could ask for their recipe.’ I sat up straighter.
This time, my dad spoke.
‘Many people offered them loads of money secretly to give them the recipe. They refused. And then they stopped selling.’
I collapsed in my chair. ‘The man wanted the drink so badly I thought it must have been very delicious. I could’ve done with selling it in my café. Fall is here. But I don’t have the recip-. I stopped. Something felt wrong.
‘Dad?’ I asked. ‘Mom?’ I called.
‘You know what?’ I said quietly. ‘The man also told me that he thought he smelt the aroma of that drink behind me. And do you know what I was doing at that time? I was trying to make a mixture from the recipe you gave me.’ I told mom.
A week before, my mom had handed me a recipe, asking me to try making it.
‘And if the people offered to give loads of money secretly, how could you know. Unless the sellers were your best friends, except you said they told NOBOBY. So am I right what I am assuming?’ I asked them both, my mind working rabidly.
It was y mom who spoke. ‘We named you Autumn, because our business was so good because of fall. People bought our drinks too much.’
‘Then why did you stop?’ I asked her, when my assumptions turned out correct.
‘Because we were having you.’ Dad spoke. ‘We promised ourselves we’ll teach our little girl the recipe to enjoy the fall.’
I turned to mom. ‘The recipe you gave me, it’s of googi dossi?’ I asked.
My mom nodded. Then added, ' all the drinks are alcohol-free.'
I laughed out aloud. ‘How in the world did you name these drinks?’
My mom shrugged, half-embarrassed as my dad roared with laughter.
Fall was being celebrated with full enthusiasm. There were orange leaves shedding, apples being picked, bonfires were being made, with toffee’s and marshmallows toasting over them, houses were being filled with the warm baking smells of pumpkin bread, gingerbread cookies, apple pies and drinks were being made all over the country. But the whole country was going to a single café in the center of the city.
It was a café owned by Autumn Chase, which was quite a particular name, people said. When someone entered the café, he was greeted by orange dull lights and the chatter of people, not to mention the clinking of glasses and the warm smell of baking. Someone would soon come by to take their order and soon a person would be enjoying a delicious drink, which people said, had a very difficult name.
Autumn would be seen standing, chattering to someone, taking orders and every now and then, sipping a drink of her own.
An old woman was sipping delicately from a glass which showed a drink of a light green color. If anyone asked her how it would taste like, she would say it tastes likes pasta and soup and apple cider at the same time. Of course, Poju kipla would be her new favorite drink.
A big burly man was shoving a light brown in his mouth which tasted like iron and it gave so much energy to him. Afsr tums really was good for man like him.
A gust a wind blew in as the door was opened by a middle-aged man entered the café, looking around surprised at the amount of people. His eyes paused on the orange dull lights and he turned around only to see Autumn smiling at him from a distance.
‘So,’ as he neared, Autumn began. ‘I very much like these lights of mine.’ She said, motioning to the orange lights. ‘I knew they were a wonderful idea when I first suggested them, don’t you?’ she asked the man, smiling. ‘And now, let me display better manners then before. Mr.?’
‘Thomas.’ He answered, smiling too.
‘Have a seat Mr. Thomas, and name your drink. This time, we have a few more options than before. I really think you should try ‘googi dossi’. Don’t you think? I made it myself.’