A Latte & Horses

Staring at my latte this morning! It’s BEAUTIFUL! I still ‘got it’! That skill! To make a killer latte…The truth about my inner thoughts though, are anything but…

I am full of uncertainties…

Today?! Lots of freshly roasted coffee will get delivered. I roasted it all yesterday evening! I truly hope the coffee beans did not sense my lack of inner peace during the coffee roasting session last night! If they did?! My business may be in jeopardy!

I picture the aromatic coffee beans at a customer’s house! After they just picked up a freshly roasted lb or 2 from the grocery store!

Customers driving home… imagining their black gold! That warm intoxicating smell! It’s already there… dancing in their nostrils! The crema, rewarding them with an indescribable heavenly taste!

They get home! They open the package, the beans rush out! The beans start telling stories…The customer gives them a very little chance to finish their stories, before throwing them in the coffee grinder! The beans suddenly look sad! They wish they had a good story to tell before turning into dust! To have a ‘happy’ legacy before they perish inside the dark ibis amidst the cold sharp blades! But they don’t…their brown tears fall…no one sees them. They hug each other goodbye. Exchange ‘was great hanging out when we were young and green inside that burlap bag!’! One zealous optimistic coffee bean is heard yelling! Although its voice is nearly muffled by the other beans, helplessly laying on top of it…squishing it! ‘our comradery will live forever! I will see you all on the other side when we all turn into liquid gold and when the espresso machine spits us out!’..Some of the beans pretend they didn’t hear it! As they continue their stoic stand still, neither shifting nor moving! Some, on the other hand, attempt a sad smile!

If only, if only the roster was her usual jolly self last night…but alas….she wasn’t!

That’s what I picture them all say…

I used to be confident behind the bar. The espresso bar that is. Now, I’m not too certain…

Events will be taking place soon! Christmas events. Days of 10 hours straight behind the bar. I should be happy. I love doing it! But then, why the fears?! I am still trying to find out…

Staring at my latte, I also think about tomorrow! Tomorrow marks my first day of my ‘Horses Course’! I’ll be going to hang out with 20 horses or something like that! I’ll count them all tomorrow, at a ranch close by! I’m nervous about that too.

The funny part! It was all my idea. I proposed it to the ranch owner a few months ago! He finally responded he’s ready! So, I should be happy, I love horses, I’ll be hanging out with ‘amazing’ horses! Why the apprehension?! It does not make sense…

I think, it’s a temporary phase I’m going through! It will pass very quickly. I hope..

To whoever is reading this: do not let your fears stop you! They are insidious, but you have the power to question them one by one! Dismantle them! Disarm them! And when you feel triumphant and victorious…When you rise and walk towards your window…and you stand there…looking outside…outside of your uncertainties…I will be standing right behind you..I will then, smile and drape my hands gently over your shoulders…and whisper in your ear ‘thank you for finding..you! Again’

I Don’t Want Your Wings

-Taking a break from my cafe story…-

* * *

As usual, my music is taking me places…places that are very very far…and I’m flying.

I can’t help but think of Icarus. His majestic well crafted wings catching fire. He got too close to the sun.

If I was Icarus: I’d refuse the wings! Sounds foolish! Ok ok I know it does! Sit down! 😉

Thank you for sitting down.

Now listen, and don’t get angry at my foolish irresponsible arrogance! Just try to hear me out!

If I was Icarus, I’d refuse the wings. My father Deadalus, would be offering them, he worked hard on crafting them so I could fly, and I don’t want them.

He will lay them carefully right in-front of me. His hands are tired and weathered and full of dark blotches and scrapes. But I still don’t want them! How ungrateful! Go ahead. Say it. But please remain seated.

I want them, only if

I want them, only if I can fly

Here you are jumping in my face again ‘but THAT’S THE POINT! He’s GIVING them to you so you could FLY’

‘Yes I do know that!’ I’ll say quietly. I’m calm. You’re not.

I don’t want the wings. I want them only if, I could fly…wherever I want to! Do not give me wings and say: don’t go up close to the sun! I get the don’t fly too low part! I could do that! I have no interest in low. But HIGH????? Are you kidding me???? Not too close to the sun so my wings won’t burn?! Oh wait…they’re made out of WHAT???? WAX???? Now I really really don’t want them! You’re the most skilled craftsman, and you made them out of…wax…sigh…I think you are trying to teach me something! Let’s see…I’m not supposed to disobey your rules? What? What is it that I am supposed to learn here?! To be wise? I AM NOT! I am not wise and I’ll never be!

So take your wings back!

Your wings will be wasted on me! It’ll probably take me 5 seconds to be right there close to the sun! And your wings will melt and I will fall!

How about, I help you make another set! Out of stuff that don’t melt ;)..just a thought! Then, you let me fly and linger…a bit longer…around..the sun

Stories From My Cafe Days

“She Wanted Me To Help Her Bury Her Heart”- Part II

* * *

She began to describe the cold freezing enclosure, she again found herself suddenly entering, after hearing ‘his’ words the other day! She described how familiar that enclosure had become!

She sat there, talking. I was trying to remain clam, quietly listening, while following her words, the sorrow in her eyes and the slow fainted tapping of her fingers. Her fingers would alternate softly between the edge of the table, and the side of her cup. Like a little scared prayer to The Gods, to have ‘his’ hand, her lover’s hand, there underneath hers! Instead of the edge of the table, or the edge of the coffee cup! But his hand wasn’t there…and her heart continued its rhythmic quiet weeping. All her fingers could cling on to, was a cold edge of an unassuming little square table, and a lukewarm..edge of a cup.

Her grace that I’ve always admired whenever she used to drop by for her coffee and chat! Was getting dragged down by the weights of her words, and chocked up tears…I wanted to pick it up.

Instead, little by little, I watched her beautiful grace weep! Who knew that someone’s grace could actually weep! Hers certainly did. Or was it her heart?! Doing all the weeping?! It started to get confusing…

All I knew was, hearing that thud noise of her heart’s broken pieces meeting the ground as she talked and talked, was getting louder and more frequent…And it didn’t take longer for me, until I could sense my own ‘anger’ rising! Its little bubbles, forming.

I wanted her to stop talking.

I wanted to scream ‘he’s not worth it’…

How could she be this blind?!

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Photo: Marco Bianchetti/Unsplash

Stories From My Cafe Days

“She Wanted Me To Help Her Bury Her Heart” -Part I

She was different from the rest!

She was ‘alive’! You couldn’t miss that if you had met her!

She was beautiful in a very unique way! Big curious and very smart, hazel eyes. Her hair..oh it’s hard to describe her hair! She changed it a lot! Whenever her mood struck or so it seemed! But on that day, it was cut much shorter! It barely reached her shoulders! Yet it really suited her.

She said she took her poultry shears to her long locks a few days earlier! I pictured her snapping away, as if, she was cutting off tentacles to her …pain! She affirmed that image when she said, she watched the snippets of hair fall down…and with them..her pain eased…a little. Then she giggled! Her usual nervous giggle.

It was unusually quiet that afternoon at the shop, when she walked in! As if, some mysterious power, blocked the roads with huge boulders, and kept people from showing up! So ‘she’ could tell her story uninterrupted!

I was busy organizing some lower shelves and doing a quick inventory! But then there she was! Smiling at me as my head raised above the surface of the counter!

Her smile was there, but her eyes had an ominous look! I knew something was up!

I was right!

We sat down! She stirred the spoon nervously inside her cup! Then tossed it on the saucer! I could read her uneasiness.

I remained quiet, waiting for her to begin. All while hoping, my smile was encouraging enough for her first words to emerge! And after a few seconds of silence they did! It was ‘him’! Again.

I sighed….

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Photo: Joel Overbeck/Unsplash

Stories From My Café Days

She said it ‘there’ll be no more!’. She repeated that sentence to herself! ‘There’ll be no…more’. She was tired! Tired of feeling too much!

She went outside her coffee shop to breath some ‘unemotional’ air. To have a little break from it all! But then, she continued walking. She left. She Opened the glass door to the parking lot, looking unsuspiciously ‘normal’! As usual, just out for a little break! …No she wasn’t!

To her own bafflement, that one afternoon, she actually continued walking towards her car, got in and drove away.

She didn’t drive far. In fact, she only drove to ‘another’ empty parking lot not even 5 minutes away! Turned off the ignition! Undid her confining seatbelt and..just…sat there.

Little did she know, ‘there will be many more’! She will be repeating that unexplainable inarticulable act of driving 5 minutes away, in the days, months and even years to come!

It was her escapism from…people’s suddenly emptied suitcases of stories and emotions right in front of her eyes! Right on that counter. And just like a skilled TSA agent, she watched herself getting better and better, at quickly stuffing all those bits and pieces of their stories back in, and quietly pointing to the next table, away from the lineup! Somewhere quieter to sort through all the…stuff!

Some days, there were anguish, heavy old and new disappointments, and even tragedies. All escaping out of their mouths and eyes…derivatives of the stories in their suitcases. All seeping in..into her skin! Leaving unseen, but deeply felt bruises! Felt only by…her.

Middle aged women with sad love lives, or sad family lives! Younger women with sad love lives, and/or sad family lives. Men wanting to describe their latest travel adventures to Paris! Even THOSE, were emotional and tinged with that high that leapt through their widening excited eyes! Reliving the moments! The ‘Paris’ moments! Details upon details are getting piled up in her…now foggy brain!

Everyone had a story to tell! Everyone wanted a piece of her. They could sense her inner Empath! They all seemed to be jousting for her attention! And she knew she was good at willingly giving it!

And there it all used to unfold! People’s stories brought in, stuffed in medium and large suitcases! (Seldom had she spotted smaller ones)! Those suitcases’ guts, were sometimes spilling through! Some people seemed to have packed theirs in a hurry! She guessed!

They would come in, order their pastry and coffee, and ask to talk to her if she had a second! She said yes a lot! It became customary.

The truth is, deeply inside, she felt honoured they all trusted her! It was tiring, but incredibly rewarding at the same time!

-Kat is behind the bar today?! Did you say Kat’s behind the bar! Hey thank you for calling..um gotta go..

That’s how she pictured it happening sometimes! They all knew each other! It’s a conspiracy. They all sat there at the cafe pretending to not know each other! But they did!!! They…DID! How else could she explain spotting them hurrying out of their cars, traversing through the parking lot?! And showing up one after another????! Indeed! Humour was so needed on those days! Accompanied by favourites like “Novo Amor/Anchor” playing in her ears, nursing her soul back into health, and washing away her bruises! And…what else other then… a 5 minute car drive, to the next parking lot!

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And I hear your ship is comin’ in
Your tears a sea for me to swim
And I hear a storm is comin’ in
My dear, is it all we’ve ever been”

Novo Amor/Anchor- – -(fictional happening of actually listening to it on those days. But I certainly listened to similar)

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Personal sketch’

She Has A Cold! Why’s She Smiling

She has a cold.

Then why’s she smiling?

Sitting there in bed! She reflected:

She slept in this morning! Something she can no longer do anymore, or so she thought! She smiled again…She has a cold. She earned permission to sleep in!

She remembered submitting the jarring white legal size document to her conscious early in the morning! It was immediately approved! She snatched it back from her conscious’ cold short stubby fingers, and….went back to sleep.

She also remembered, tucking her thoughts into bed last night! Her thoughts, they resemble obstinate children sometimes. Last night they brushed their teeth, and as usual every night, she watched them put on their sleeping garments! Some put on their medieval-looking long off white linen gowns. Some, their silky colourful pyjamas! And some, those ones with the most attitude, wore whatever pleased them to show they don’t really care! Those ones with their calm young, but very mature at the same time, eyes! Looking at her as if saying ‘what does it matter anyway?! Aren’t there million more important things to think about and fuss over!?’! Those ones are her favourite. And she remembered not shying away from revealing her favouritism, and lingering there by their bed the longest! Whispering quietly to them…until they drifted away!

When she opened her eyes this am, most, immediately woke too! Some jumping out of their beds throwing the sheets in the air, full of energy! Smiles on their faces! Some?! Rolled out of bed unsure of the day ahead! And some, had to be woken up only to pull the sheets back over their heads, curl up into a fetal position, arm sticking out from underneath the sheets ushering ‘her’ to go on without them!

It’s going to be an interesting day, hanging out with her cold! 🙂

‘Good Morning Mr. Woolf’ The song is very fitting! She could feel the piano keys jumping out of the stereo and playing all around her quiet house!

‘I need more coffee to nurse my cold’. She said to herself laughing in the kitchen, as she closed the fridge door after finding a ‘please drink me so you’ll get better quick’ Orange Juice container! Her sweet spouse must’ve bought for her on his way home last night!

Her right hand on the coffee grinder button, ready to press down. Her left hand, lifted up with the coffee mug towards her cold, feeding it more…coffee! Yes it’s going to be an interesting day….

Stories From My Cafe Days

He used to walk in! Doesn’t talk much! Beside the casual ‘hello’, there were hardly any words spoken!

They used to all be busy working at that little coffee shop! The adjacent roomier roasting room however, was usually quieter, except you could hardly find anyone actually working there unless a roasting session is taking place!

Her staff noticed him quietly watching the roasting process unfold! They exchanged looks, and made stories about him in their heads, ready to be exchanged when the line of the waiting customers, gets shorter! Again, he was his usual extremely quiet self.

Witnessing raw green beans dance inside the drum, was indeed mesmerizing to some folks passing by! The green colour slowly changing to cinnamon, then getting darker and darker until it reaches that heavenly brown colour!

The roaster’s back, as usual, intentionally facing customers! The roasting process requires full attention! No room for casual chats. But the reason her staff told her about this specific customer being there, was due to the mind blowing amount of coffee he used to purchase! 10 bl of freshly roasted coffee beans every 2 weeks! Who does that? Does he take it to his work? Does he live in a commune?! Is he a modern hip vampire who drinks coffee versus blood? So many questions!

One day, she was ‘stationed’ behind the espresso machine! He’s waiting for his latte across! He usually switched back and forth between a latte and a double shot espresso! He was closer than usual this time around, again…quietly watching his drink getting prepared!

His steel blue eyes had this intense look! As if he’s angry about something! In a way, the look was a bit..intimidating! Intense and intimidating!

Again, no words were spoken. And she was way too busy to look up again! Or may be she was avoiding this intimidating ‘strange’ figure across the bar!

One day, the intimidating 10 lb coffee purchaser appeared! He was wearing a military uniform! With a CWO badge!!!!!!!! No wonder they all thought he was intimidating all this time!

Her staff, immediately exchanged an ‘oh-my-gosh’ look as they spotted him entering in a slow motion through the door! He’s usually very fast in his steps, but somehow this time around, their eyes hit freeze/stop, then slowly hit play, then freeze again..then play again…all while he was slowwwwly approaching them!

After he ordered his 10 lb of coffee along his usual drink, he stepped to the side waiting for it to be ready! Again he was quietly but attentively watching his espresso being made! His military uniform, actually made him look ‘less’ intimidating to ‘her’! Yes very strange indeed!

She decided to ask him about his service! He briefly ‘but very willingly’ mentioned 3 tours. Yugoslavia twice. Afghanistan once.

His steel blue eyes, still intense, but much less intimidating now! He actually…smiled! ….’whaaaat..!!!’ He is actually capable of cracking up a smile? You mean he actually does…smile?!!! Whoa! THAT was unexpected!

As she got to know him! As she asked questions about the brutality of war in those places he served at! She started to learn more and more, about war, about the ‘people’ in those places of past and current war! His opinions shocked her! Especially when he sadly and quietly smiled at one point, and said ‘don’t say it will never happen ‘Here’! People..are…people’! The rest was for her to read through…

My Evening Thoughts

Going through pics from a trip to Toronto not too long ago! I am brought back to those days, when I was nearly skipping while walking the streets sometimes… That’s how happy I was there! Discovering places like, a really really old paper store full of stacks of gorgeous paper from all over the world! My eyes would feast and try hard to keep up with everything in front of them, above them, and to the side of them!

Or, an old untouched by time barbershop, sitting there for over 80 years! On Spadina Rd. When a haircut used to cost $2! And where an old cash register weighing probably more than a car, is still sitting there and still being used!!!!

How many times did I suddenly stop walking! My eyes wide open, wanting nothing more than…just to observe…all the details of everything old and beautiful and nostalgic and with AMAZING retro signage and it’s ALL still there!

What city, town, place made your heart skip with happiness while walking the streets? Please share

Her Tired Mask

Her eyes opened. ‘Bad night sleep’ was the first thought that crossed her mind.

No she didn’t sleep well last night. Was not good. Was it too much coffee late in the day?! Was it going for a run in the early evening on that lonely trail full of the smell of fall?! That smell that everyone loves and usually describes with a romantic smile and gazing eyes! The one that she’s been trying to love all her life but she’s still not quite there…!

Ironically, she looks down at the dark velvety coffee face inside her cup, clutched close to her chest. ‘Coffee! What would I do without you?!…How would I reconcile with my achy brain?! If it wasn’t for you?!!?’

Today is a work day. It’s Monday. Shelves at the grocery store needs restocking with freshly roasted coffee. Invoices need to get dropped off. Online ordering sorted out…

Most of her tasks are done alone! Even working at her little coffee roasting lab, is yet another solitary job!

There are a lot of days, where she can focus on the positive, giggle her way throughout, especially when her spouse returns home at the end of the day! She’s not one to burden…others.

She is also one who loves to laugh, and who doesn’t forget the sad truth about the brevity of life, which usually causes her to want to laugh carelessly even more and more, at any given chance! These are all good things!

A giver by nature; yet a very very lousy and stingy receiver! Mostly due to her proud and private nature!

So how dare she complain?!

She dare not complain. She dare not share the heavy loneliness in the heart! No one will ever understand.

People’s reaction to her lifestyle, especially urbanites, usually takes on the shape of a colourful rainbow of admiration, laced with a bluish greyish halo of semi-hidden envy. They simply want to see, a romantic picture of a self employed woman swimming in a blissful utopian sea of freedom! They can’t see her inside! It’s extraneous to what they want to actually see! They will at best, spot an invalid sense of..well….tedium!

Combine that with a life long tendency to shy away from even ‘valid’ complaining, and you will be able to see a person who keeps a lot of feelings to herself.

She is feeling anxious as she looks at her watch!

She is still not used to letting her mask down ‘here’!

Then why is she writing all these private things for the world to see, you may ask!

Well…the honest answer to this will be, something like this: She’s trying it out! She’s trying to find out, if being honest ‘here’, is going to help her figure herself out! If opening the usually tightly shut little window in her chest, and setting those burdened imprisoned white doves called thoughts, free, is going to help her chest feel lighter!

Notice she said ‘thoughts’! She didn’t say ‘feelings’! It’s intentional. It’s an attempt to protect her from the anger of the dark towery figure, called Logic! The one that keeps pounding its bony fist, on a table in front of her! A table constructed of wood and all …her thoughts! Asking her ‘what for?!’

-Personal sketch. me, protecting me, from me.

Stories From My Café Days

The year was 2013. It started as the following:

My staff and I used to be busy making drinks behind the espresso bar at my little coffee shop, handing them out to smiling customers happy to get their hands on that warm cup of coffee.

we had our regulars, just as one would expect of a local café! However at times, I’d notice a ‘different’ type of face looking at me or not looking me, across the bar! I’d pick up on something, a clue of some sort if you will, a clue to their insides, a clue to something …off. And at that very moment, I’d make the drink, hand it out, smile and say ‘it’s on me’. And that’s how it all began. Me falling in love with something beyond continuously wiped down espresso bar counters, real estate square footage full of the aroma of coffee surrounding it, and the nostalgic noise of a milk steaming wand and the knocking of a portafilter.

I fell in love with something bigger. Something that changed those lonely moments for those customers, to something better and simply warmer. They were coming to my coffeeshop thinking they were seeking the warmth of a cup of coffee, but in reality, a lot of times…they were seeking a little bit of warmth for their ‘souls’, before the warmth reached their hands or just about! And that’s the part I was glad to be able to change, even if it was just at those very brief instances.

The story didn’t stop there, and rather continued to grow! Customers started coming back later, to say thank you for the coffee gesture! And they started sharing how that simple gesture made them feel at that moment! How sometimes that simple act of kindness, managed to go a bit or sometimes a lot further, it managed to make their day, better than they had expected it to turn out to be.

Very soon, the story took an expected turn, when customers started asking if they could offer that same gesture to random others! They asked if they could purchase a cup of coffee for a random stranger visiting whenever! Of course I said yes. And ‘that’s’ when the actual magic happened.

Even to this day, I still hang on to letters people had written down in those glorious days, to a lucky receiver! They wrote them while smiling, after purchasing a pay it forward coffee, for another person who would come after them, and not necessarily immediately after them. They ‘knew’ what it was going to feel like, they had experienced it. And it grew like a wildfire from there….

I remember having very generous donors too. We sometimes handed out free coffee for an entire day!!! It sounds crazy! But it did happen! And in a world full of scepticism?! It was a wonderful contrary reality! and an amazing story of community, simple care for each other and ..warmth.

Those were the best days of my life. Not just taking pride at offering a great latte or an amazing cup of cappuccino, but to change people’s lives even if it’s only in very brief and perhaps fleeting moments! To create warmth and watch it grow.

For someone who’s a non-dreamer -I’m the non-dreamer- catching yourself SUDDENLY dreaming, is surprising, yet very exciting at the same time!

Fastforward to this week, 2018:

I’m a realist, I practice living in the moment; so it’s pretty difficult for someone like myself to dream! Yet I did just that! I had a dream of recreating that coffee shop I closed down 3 years ago! Who knows..!