From deepest ebony to melodic umber hues, from cream softened oranges to the greens that mature into a sea-spun sage - the fall had arrived and is as welcome as a long remembered song.
The autumn had dressed for the coming season, donning her most vibrant hues. She had swept into our streets and woodlands with a humble boldness that invited the eye to see more than they otherwise might. We were are all so blessed to witness such beauty. There were the browns that come as some quilt to the earth, yet the rest are the hues of volcanoes, of firework sparks and festival hoopla. It was as if nature was calling out to the spring, and the trees couldn't help but become as flowers, towering blossoms of flamed foliage to dance into the skies before tumbling as giant confetti to the sidewalks and verges. The trees were laughing once more, dressed in their carnival clothes, the gold, the red, and scarlet of the autumn days.
As they did, I took in the freshly calm air with that hint of an earthly aroma, the fragrance of homeliness.
"Ah! Autumn! What a wonder-" I halted, as my eyes fell onto the billboard. It had the advertisement for the arrivals of autumnal drinks. A new coffee-shop had opened in town! I squealed, earning a few weird looks from passerby's. I was a caffeine addict. I was running ahead of my work schedule and had time to grab a cup or two on the way to work. I could use a break, I thought. My feet couldn't control themselves as they took a turn towards the fifth avenue, heading towards the place that will prove to be my sanctuary.
The tiny café huddled despondent among the huge city buildings. Washed out under the overcast sky, it hunched in itself, fighting against the drizzle. Hundreds of people rushed by it, outside on the crowded street. The half a dozen customers glanced up as the door swung open, heralded by a blast of cold wind. Unlike the outside, the interior of the café was warm and cheery, with bright lights and colorful walls. The customers returned to their conversations as the door swung closed behind the new entrant, the cold breeze long forgot. The scent of cinnamon and latte's reached my nostrils. Bliss!
Square tables, glass tops, menu under glass tops, slow-turning ceiling fans above, light classical music, waiters smartly dressed, terracotta rustic tiled floor, large windows, small vases of yellow carnation flowers on each table, daily specials on a chalkboard at the entrance. Perfect!
A cafe is like my refuge, a place I can make believe that I am in a caring society. At the tables are my imaginary friends in a transient community. In the coffee-cafe, we sit, my friend and I, helping each other find ways to make our lives and loves better. We are each other's best doctors and medicine combined. The coffee, the music, and the smile of someone who cares, it's a fragment of heaven, a chance to enjoy the company and to start to want more. When it comes to the topic of autumn and coffee, I can go on and on about it.
Brushing off these thoughts, I walked towards the barista with a charming smile on my face, "Hello! I saw your advertisement for the recently arrived fall beverages. Could you please suggest a hot drink for me?"
The barista smiled, showing his pearly-white teeth as his bright blue eyes met mine as he said, "Of course! Well, alcoholic beverages are available from only at 6:30 onwards, an hour to go. Our 'Thick and Creamy Hot Vanilla' is quite popular these days along with the 'Hot Cider Nog.' We also have a varied collection of pumpkin spice latte and warm tea. There is the 'Tahini Hot Chocolate too.' Does any of these catch your interest? You can also have a look at our menu. "
"Well, I would have asked for a plain coffee, but these fancy and exotic drinks sounds more tempting." The barista lightly chuckled at that.
"Could I get a mashup of two drinks?" I asked in hopes of a positive answer.
"A mashup?" He raised his eyebrows and continued, "Well, it depends on the drinks. I will try my best, though."
My eyes gleamed with happiness. "The Thick and Creamy Hot Vanilla and the 'Tahini Hot Chocolate'?"
The barista looked at me, amused, "That wouldn't go very well. I'd suggest getting each of the drinks separately. You wouldn't get the complete taste or knowledge of the specialty of the drink otherwise. The rest is up to you."
I pouted but considered his statement. "Okay, I will get the vanilla drink. However, if I won't like it, I'll blame it on you." My lips twitched as I raised an eyebrow.
He laughed, shaking his head, "Of course, madam. Anything else?"
"Yes, I'd like a muffin to go along with it, please."
"Foodie.", he teased.
I mock-gasped, "Me?! Never! I only survive of salads and leaves, like a perfect herbivore." I looked at him and imitated a hair-flip.
Our laughter did not build softly but exploded as good as TNT, filling the scented air and spilling out into the whole cafe, earning strange looks from customers, again.
He cleared his throat and smiled, "Your order will be ready in five to seven minutes."
Deciding to get a bit of my work done, I spotted a seat near the large window and headed there.
Engrossed in my work, I didn't hear the footsteps coming towards my table until that person tapped on the table. I looked up to see the cute blue-eyed barista from before.
"Didn't know you could be serious too.", he said, attempting to maintain a serious expression.
"Well, you barely know me.", I pointed out.
"Not yet, I don't." He winked at me and left.
I sat there, confounded. Shaking my head, I brought out my hand towards the cute coffee cup and took a sip. It was creamy, rich, and coated my tongue thickly before flowing down my throat. The top was swirling with white milk foam and cocoa powder. I was in two minds between wanting to savor it or just inhaling it. For a few moments, I just wrapped my hands around the cup, letting the warmth flow through my fingers, banishing the wintry chill. At this moment, I knew that I would be back here tomorrow for another beverage. Some things are too good to have just once.
Just as I was about to take a second sip, something on the cup caught my eye. I sat there still after reading it, with my mouth parted, and my expression resembling that of surprise.
I met the eyes of the barista, gave a full smile, and nodded, mouthing, 'yes'. He threw his hand into the air, his blue eyes shining with glee. His co-workers gave us knowing looks and patted him on the back while giving me a thumbs-up.
After a few moments of silent celebration, he came up to me and asked, "Shall we?"
I gave him my best smile and replied, "We shall."
"Do you realize we still haven't asked each other's name?" Blue-eyed barista suddenly asked out loud.
"Well, I have been calling you 'blue-eyed barista' since I met you, but it seems I can't call you that all the time. I am Amanda, a caffeine-addict.." I held out my hand for a handshake.
"Hello, Amanda-the caffeine addict! My name is Jason, the blue-eyed barista that has caught your pretty eyes." He shook my hand.
A slight bush crawled up my neck as I smiled. With his cheery attitude and loving personality, I felt like I had known him for my whole life.
We smiled and walked out of the cafe. The coffee cup with the words, "To the cute foodie, This is hard to espresso, but I will take a shot. Coffee with me? I like you a latte.", still in my hand.
Now, how could I ever deny his wish? He did write a lot of coffee puns, after all. A picture-perfect day, just like I had imagined when I was young.