Story of the Coffee Stains

I put the empty coffee-packet between the pages and kept the book aside. My eyes have become weary of reading incessantly for far too long. I gaze through the curtain-less window at…NOTHING. Just an Autumn downpour tapping on the windowpane with a monotonous cadence. I take a quick peek into my coffee mug. The remaining coffee is as cold and stagnant as my life. Should I have some more coffee? But that will take my leaving from the bed, my amorous bed with an artistically coffee stained bedsheet.

Unable to think of anything better to do, I eventually step down from the bed. Trying futilely to avoid stepping on the books laid scattered all over the floor, I plod to my ramshackle culinary counter. Something’s rotting here. I busy myself in making coffee with my cheap heater more to distract myself from that ominous odor. Pouring some fresh coffee in the mug and picking up “Immortality” from the floor, I sit cross-legged with my back against the wall and eyes on the pages. Some pages of this book are coffee-stained from, maybe, one of my previous intrinsic coffee-spills.  She gave me this book a couple of months earlier. Or a year? Can’t recall precisely.

I am supposed to meet her at three this afternoon. The small digital clock on the stark white wall is screaming “1:58” right now. A sharp assegai of sheer procrastination stabs me on and on as I think of setting my feet out in this drenched afternoon. But what is necessary has to be done. So, without farther ado I throw the book at a corner of the white-walled room, keep the half-drunk coffee on the floor and get on my feet. Slipping in a gabardine trouser, I look for a suitable t-shirt. Every single t-shirt is decorated with coffee stains at some degrees. I pick up an off-white one which seems to be the only unsullied soldier in the whole legion and put it on.

So, it’s still showering and I’m out on the road. The whole place is murky and cacophonous. Mellow drizzle soaks me bit by bit like coffee drops staining a book page by page. I don’t mind walking, rather it’s one of my catharses, even in the rain. People around me are bustling like busy ants, as if the rain doesn’t touch their lives. Strange! I keep my consistent signature slow pace of walking. This city always keeps a unique musk on. Today’s one is of wet ash. I keep walking trying to step pattern-wise on the pavement blocks.

Turning an edge, I locate her under the library in which we usually spend time. She is such a simple girl. We’ve been married for three years now but she still has some poignant effect on me which I can’t resist. Her face illuminates with the brightest mirth as soon as she becomes aware of my existence from a distance. As I reach her, I habitually stare into her melting eyes taking my time. This tumbling feeling seizes me every time I leap into these deep eyes. They can be curious, happy, enticed and apprehensive simultaneously. She closes her blue umbrella and locks me, fully soaked now, in her embrace, burying her warm face on my chest.

“I was thinking of you the whole day, I just can’t get you out of my head.”

It sounds like some sonorous orchestra . Rain has become more aggressive. We acquiesce to get inside the library. One thing that can’t evade my eyes though it wasn’t there earlier – an obtrusive coffee-stain on my chest.

Written by Hera Haque

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