August 26, 2011

The Young Man and the Rush

*With sarcasm. Lots.

The sun crested the horizon, amber rays washing down the hills. They swept across the street, and poured through the glass of a building, illuminating the dim visage of an espresso machine. Like honey, it stuck and dripped and covered, until the room was lit.

And then there was movement. A crack of a door, and shuffle of feet and a large red bag, dropped to the floor.

A man followed, dressed for doing. Black jeans, black shoes, and a black shirt, only discolored by accumulated espresso, hung from his bones; wispy stubble and just-out-of-bed hair grew like stalks from his skull, waved like a field of grain.

He went to work. The cafe was soon alive with clicks, whirs, hisses and pops. There was coffee then, food placed at the ready and espresso tinkered with, until it too was ready.

The light dripped, the clock ticked, and he pulled back the gate.

The customers approached warily at first, testing and teasing with glaces and questions. Some grew bolder, approaching with orders at the ready. Still more took the coffee for their own, with nary a word and hardly a gesture. The man stood before them all casting aside their initial advances. Too easy.

The next wave was more, in every sense. It loomed, ominous and quiet, before breaking and casting tumult in its wake. There was chaos, movement everywhere and a sea of noise, nothing discernible from anything else, all a swirling, teeming froth. And the man stood against it, unmoved, like a buoy made to withstand a storm of just this magnitude. The wave broke on him, but he did not break.

But while the first behemoth loomed, it served to block the army of giants following. Standing against one had required resolve, had been a challenge. To stand against them all would require that, and some degree of luck as well. Mostly, it would require the knowledge that there was nothing left but to angle directly for it.

And so he did, keeping his mind set to the task before him - to this breath, to that shot, to that button and that "haveaniceday".

And still they came. More, when more seemed impossible. The reservoir seemed infinite, and in the epiphany, he took solace. If there was no victory, then there was no defeat. If there was no hope, then there was no fear. There was only the next grind, tamp, twist, and pull. There was only that crema, that rosetta, and then the next.

Until there wasn't. Until there was calm, and then a breath, taken without threat of drowning.

He drifted then, his destination inevitable, until the final drop of amber dissolved in to the black.

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