There had been an explosion that burned my favorite café to the ground. Because of that, the only other good one in town was always much too crowded, so I never went there either. I had a tough time deciding where to spend my days after that.
Adelaide McGonagall used to sit with me by the window over coffee and tea. She hated coffee, and I hated tea. But we had so much else in common that we instantly connected and we sat there, week after week, drinking our respective drinks and enjoying each other’s company.
The coffee wasn't all that impressive, to be truthful, but she was. I never told her I only came there to see her. We had first met by sheer chance, as I stood by the corner admiring a painting that had invited the two of us to canonize its beauty concurrently. I was instantly smitten not with the dried colors on the wall, however, but with the living masterpiece that had gently brushed her shoulder upon mine. I invited her to sit underneath the envious painting at a table which was welcomingly-warmed by the beaming winter sun.
Everything about her fascinated me and held me in a constant aura of delight. I liked the way the tip of her nose wiggled ever-so faintly when she pronounced certain words. Or how her forehead creased gently and her glasses bounced a little when she laughed. Those were a few of the many minute quirks of hers that I was quite fond of. I oft wondered if I had any peculiarities of my own and if she elected to find them endearing. I was never quite sure if she looked back at me as I looked at her. But I felt a kinship with her that I believe she also felt. Some sort of kinetic tension would spark when we were together.
She was in the building when the explosion occurred, and they never found any of her remains. I was on my way to meet her. I went to the memorial services for the 24 people who had been in the building that blustery Monday morning, and I went to her funeral, but I didn't stay. I think I may have been in love with her.
They said it was a bad gas leak that went unnoticed. The strong smell of freshly-ground coffee overpowered the wafting warning stench of the highly-flammable gas. When Roger the owner fired up the oven to make their famous Danishes, Cuppa Love's went up in an instant. I wish I could've been there when it did. One more cup of coffee. One more of tea. One more fleeting glance and flutter of heart, praying it wasn't just me, fighting my anxiety every step of the way.
Ever since our weekly meetings were taken from me, I haven't much wanted to be in this town anymore, or anywhere else for that matter. And I wasn't very fond of coffee after the accident. The taste I had once enjoyed was replaced by an unbearable bitterness.
But I'll keep drinking this tea that I'm learning to love, transporting myself back with each sip to those stolen moments of heaven.