Inside the coffee cup (Short Stories)
Cold. The fresh liquid sheet had formed tan-coloured flakes. The half-filled mocha had barely been sipped since it was ordered an hour ago. Evidently, something was playing up on the young gentleman’s mind.
‘Is everything okay sir?’
The waitress politely asked with a warm smile, looking into his solemn eyes. Temporarily, he was brought back to his senses, assuring her everything was fine and he would be leaving shortly. Yet there he stayed, absently looking into the mug of some of the rarest, finest beans with the best brew known to humanity, of which only the truly fortunate could get near enough to even smell. This was the life most could only dream of. This was the life many would sell their morals, their families, their loved ones for. Yet his pupils – those famous hazel brown eyes – were dull coffee beans that looked like they did not belong here.
The outside world may deem this an ungrateful man. The man who has it all but is unsatisfied. The privileged and undeserving. Yet this wasn’t the reality of why he would just look pensively into this mug as his mind deserted him. It wasn’t that he didn’t love or appreciated his luxuries…the problem for him was that he did.
His mind was cast back to over a decade prior. He was in his late teens with ambition, with vision, with dreams of change. It was in a far less prestigious local coffee shop to that he found himself seated in today. Your ordinary independent café, as it were, perhaps almost unrecognisable from the rest of the big names in the High Street. He was sat with a friend and classmate, Abner, as they were discussing their future plans. Abner was showing him an economic article he’d read that morning about the income of respected political characters, celebrities, actors and their incomes, their mansions, their admirable dress, their lavish lifestyles.
‘Mannn one day eh? This is what it’s all about. Whatever the job is, this is the dream’
Abner enthusiastically remarked, nudging his friend.
Yet Igor smiled politely.
‘Not for me.’
Puzzled at his friend, Abner engaged in active discussions around the subject. How society was, the way the world works on money, how we have to get in line with the times. He saw Igor as foolishly naïve and impractical. Igor argued that with that much money, why spend it on lavish lifestyles, perpetuating a cycle of idolatry and materialism while there was so much injustice? He spoke eloquently, resiliently, of his dream to provide for the impoverished, to use that finance for the greater good. He told of his political ambitions. He argued passionately, convincingly…and while his comrade was not in agreement, he couldn’t help but be awe-struck by the unblemished saint-like nature of his friend. For it was undeniable that Igor was more than promising, was one of those young talents that would never have to worry about job security. To have such a young man carrying the integrity, and see his speech, that was a real rarity in the modern world. Abner really started to consider…perhaps he was in fact in the presence of a gem – the future, the one that could have possessed the world but sacrificed it to save it.
Yet here he now sat, the front cover of modern economy magazines – Igor recalled the bitter truth his friend foresaw back then. Somehow, as a gradual process, Igors values were changing. He couldn’t pinpoint any precise moment it happened as he tried to recollect. Was it the endless interest and job offers? The difference in salary between what he was so committed to those years ago, and the prestige and glamour in the world? Was it that he, once like a glass of water, had become contaminated, drop by drop – by people, by ideas, by his own desires? He had the wealth now. – yet, his charitable endeavours were mere specs of the skies he once dreamt of, insignificant statistics compared to the wealth he accumulated.
His apartment complex, the fine dining, expensive garments, the luxury cars – these were the same objects his fragile heart used to hold in contempt. Yet as more money afforded comfort, comfort was leading to complacency. He was losing connection to the social causes he once championed with such fervour. He used to always rationalise that the changes he envisioned, would require more money, more influence. He remembered how some of those political decisions in the workplace once seemed detestable, inhumane, corrupt…until the words from the senior executives were so phrased analysing how the end can justify the means, or how a manipulation of the economy or studies could play tricks on the logical mind. How the initially shocking, slowly became tolerable, then accepted.
He pondered as to how many had started like him, innocent, committed and how few stood through the years in their resilience. When temptations keep penetrating your soul, when the allurement of the world presents itself in its luxury suits and ties, when you begin to see yourself having the best of both worlds – how easy it is to be whirled in to this hurricane. Only the anomalies can battle through the forces of nature, he pondered.
He secretly hoped that Abner had never seen his worldly success in the media, never picked up an economy magazine and still held the hero in his mind so many years ago.
And although, in the barely touched coffee cup in front of him, those beans had been personally flown in from the finest corners of the earth, so preserved, so carefully filtered that even the company employees are not entrusted with the sources of….something wasn’t fitting. Perhaps it was his nostalgia taking a toll, yet he swore to himself – that no coffee had ever tasted as authentic as in that little café so many years ago.