Once upon a Cafe.
He's been going there for quite some time now, just like everybody else in his university. There was something about that place, that cafe that made him coming back for more. Was it the drinks? The ambiance? The people? Or is it the girl, the girl who sits in the far side of the cafe, alone, looking at her laptop, and smiling, having fun while she is at it.
He can't remember the first time he entered that place. What he remembers is how. He remembered that his friends wanted a place to stay for a while, they searched and searched and finally found that place, the cafe, their sanctuary, the place that would change his life forever.
First time they entered that cafe, he had this heart-warming feeling deep inside him, it somehow felt like home. It was after a tiring day, a day filled with school work and a day spent listening to teachers and professors talking about things that they may never use in life. The three were tired, Will, Jane and Jake. As Will opened the door, ordered the drinks with his friends and found a seat, he saw something, rather someone, that caught his attention. He saw her, her smile, was enough to let him notice her, a glimpse then his world just suddenly stopped. He stared at her for a moment, then she noticed him and she gave him a look. Will became embarrassed and looked away, he didn’t understand what he felt, he thought that it’s probably what they call “Love at first sight” the idea made him smile and he looked at her once again.
The way she looked and smiled, kind of laughing while she was looking at her laptop, the way she waved her hair, the way she drank her smoothie, made him feel something that he cannot comprehend beyond words. He was stunned by the beauty of her eyes, the movement of her red lips, the way her blue eyes moved while she watched her tiny little world revolved around her laptop, the way she laughed like there was no one else there. His world was different now that he saw her; he knew that it would never be the same.
Will searched for an excuse just to go back to the cafe, he made different excuses like it was hot and he was thirsty for something. Jake would always say to just go buy water from somewhere, instead of going back to the cafe, but Jane saw something the day before.
“You like someone there don’t you?” Jane asked when the two of them were alone.
“What made you say that? I’m just thirsty, that’s all” Will answered her, with a slight hit of him being defensive.
They were quiet until, Jake came back, and told him that he changed his mind and that he wanted to go to the cafe instead. They head to the direction of the cafe. Will’s heart start pounding, he had a little bit of blood rush throughout his body, he started to feel hot inside, and before he even knew about it he started to sweat bullets. In other words he was excited in a way that he’s not because he just can’t understand what it feels to actually see someone like her before. He didn’t know what to do, if he saw her again. He was scared beyond all belief, he just wanted to faint right there and now.
They were in the door to the cafe. Jane gave Will a look, and Will responded back with a smile, half-baked. He can’t hide his anticipation of seeing her again, his excitement.
He didn’t tell anybody, of course, not just yet. He imagined a lot of things that could happen between him and the girl. Laughing endlessly, talking about things that just won’t make any sense, yet for them they make sense because they’re just having a blast, just her and him, and the world, revolving around them, nothing else would matter. There’s nothing else he could ask for.
As the door opens to the cafe, he became more and more excited, his heart beat the fastest and he can’t just stand still. As he entered the cafe, he looked for her, scanned for her. There seemed to be thousands of tables and chairs, thousands of people, and he looked and looked, his eyes moving as fast as they can. He didn’t see her. His heart beat slowly, his head started to pound, his emotions felt down. He was sad, in fact depressed than ever.
“Yo bro, you orderin’ anything?” Jake asked him. He didn’t hear it the first time, didn’t hear it the second time. It took Jake to shout at him, then he flinched, and said “Just the same as you bro.” Jake gave him a confused look, but Will didn’t see it, he was too busy looking around the cafe for her. “I’m ordering coffee, you sure you want that?” Jake asked him, reassuring Will’s answer. “Uhhhhh, nevermind bro, I’ll just get one of those smoothies.” Jake pointed at the menu without even looking at it. “You’re tripping, man, what the hell do you want?” Jake asked him again; annoyed by the way his friend was acting. “Will, she’s not here. Can’t you see?” Jane told him, grasping his shoulder. “What? Uhhhh... yeah. The mango smoothie will do. Yeah I like that. I like mangoes.” Will responded. He went on and find a seat for them, he sat first, while he left the two in the counter.
“What in the world got into him?” Jake asked Jane.
“That’s what happens when a man falls in love.” Jane responded, looking at poor Will.
“Well whatever, poor bastard, I bet she’s not here.” Jake continued on.
“Yeah, she’s not. Dreams shattered just like that. Poor Will.” Jane responded, with a tone of sadness in her voice.
Will stared at the window. How could he feel so much for one single person how can his heart beat so fast just for her? What could he have done better, should he have made a move the day before? Was there something wrong, did she notice him? Was she freaked out? He does not know the answer, nor does anyone else in the cafe, not his friends, none.
Classes was over, he went out, tired. It was a very slow day that was cold and gloomy, everybody’s day was downright sad. Jake and Jane didn’t go to school for whatever reasons, so that meant that he was alone. He waited for the bus, the cold wind swept through, and then it hit him, small raindrops from the sky, then it grew stronger and stronger. It rained hard, he ran to the closest shelter he could possibly find. He came across the cafe, opened its door and went inside. The cafe had lesser costumers than usual and the instrumental music continued to play on, it made him feel warm and right at home. Going home could wait, he thought to himself. He ordered himself a coffee, which he never liked; it was pretty much an excuse or a ticket for him to stay in the cafe for sometime. He picked up a book from the bookshelf. The book titled Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. He walked around, found a seat, sat down, and read.
The rain was pouring hard, small raindrops gathered at the window. He was in the cafe for almost half an hour now, he took a break from reading, stared at the brown coffee, which may have been cold by now and tried to take a sip. He didn’t like it, he never liked coffee. It’s bitter and sweet taste just didn’t make any sense to him. He placed the coffee down to the saucer and looked outside. It was getting dark, but the street lights outside illuminated the wet roads filled with cars and people commuting to get home. He stared at the raindrops sliding down the window into the ground down below. The scenery calmed him. He closed his eyes, he wanted to take a nap, he was tired after all.
“Ummmm... Excuse me, Mister.” A woman’s voice opened up to him. His eyes were still closed; he didn’t order for anything, it bothered him, but not enough to open his eyes. He pointed to the coffee cup, if it was the waitress she could just take it, leave, and not bother him anymore, or so he thought. “Um, no, I don’t want the coffee.” The voice responded to his gesture. He opened his eyes, about to say something until she saw the girl. It was her. She stared at her; his mouth opened, once again stunned, could not move, and stuck in his position. His brain just could not function properly, he didn’t know what to do, what to say, and he flinched, hit the cup, and spilt the coffee all over his pants. Smooth, Will, very smooth. “Oh God, are you okay?” The girl asked him, worried. “Crap. Um.... yeah, sure I’m fine; I mean it’s not that hot after all, I’ll be fine. Yeah, fine. Fine sounds good. I mean yeah. Hi.” He was freaking out, he sounded weird, stuttering like a grade school kid being called for oral participation. “Do you want me to call the waiter to clean that for you? You got it coffee all over your pants.” She told him, still sounding worried. “Uhhhh.... NO. No, I’ll just take my pants off, I’ll be fine. Yeah.” Will responded to the girl. Wait, what did he just say? Did he just say ‘take my pants off’? The girl looked at him confused. He just realized then what he said. He was red, he was very embarrassed. “Are you sure.... about that?” She asked him, she was holding her laughter, or at least trying to. “What do you want, again?” Will asked her, it sounded stronger than what he expected. “I just want to ask if I can sit in that chair.” The girl asked him, still holding her laughter from before. “No, I mean yes, I’m with somebody..... Who’s not here, I mean yeah you could sit there. If you want to, I mean. Will you excuse me?” Then he just ran straight to the comfort room.
He turned on the sink, let the water flow into his hands, and then washed his face. The water was colder than what he expected. A chill ran into his back and he shivered. What the hell am I doing? He thought to himself. No backup, no help, nothing, he has to do this solo. He wishes that Jake would be here right now as his wingman, but no, he’s not, and wishes just don’t happen over the minute you wish it to happen. Get yourself together, Man Up! He slapped his face a few times and then he noticed that the slaps he did to himself created huge red marks in his cheeks. This made him panic even more. I can’t do this, what am I thinking? Just leave, Will, just leave. It seemed to be a better idea, if he can’t man up, might as well leave.
He opened the door of the comfort room, looked straight at the exit. Yeah, let’s go and leave. He started walking and then he got a glimpsed at her once again. He saw her eyes, her tantalizing eyes, her smile, her everlasting smile, her hair, her silk and beautiful hair, he saw everything that was enough to make him stand and stare at her for a whole minute. She noticed him and gave him a smile. Will’s heart once again stopped, he never thought such beauty was meant to exist, yet it did. How could he actually decide to miss the chance of meeting this wonderful girl that could possibly change his life? That thought calmed him, he raised his hand and waved, surely enough the girl waved back at him. It all takes that one single moment.
Will approached her, the girl was a little bit surprise but she didn’t show it. It was the man that spilled coffee all over his pants after all and the coffee was still there. “Hey.” Will greeted the girl, his heart still pounding.
“Hey, how are your pants?” The girl asked him, with a chuckle. He was ashamed and she noticed that.
“Can we just pretend that none of the embarrassing things that happened earlier ever happened?” he responded back, keeping his cool.
“Uhhh, yeah sure” she said to him with a smile.
“How about let’s start with our names?” He asked her giving a sweet smile back.
“I’m Will and you are?”
“Claire. Claire Anderson, Nice to meet you Will.”
They talked for hours, forgetting about the time, forgetting about everything. It was like the whole world, the whole universe was just there in that small little cafe. Meeting the girl was beyond his expectations, beyond his calculations in life and he wondered their conversation, what were the chances of him meeting her? It was that small little moment, that single approach, that once upon a time moment, that changed his life forever. Nothing seemed to matter when they talk, what he noticed was not the sound of the people around them, not the rain, not even the stain of coffee in his pants. What he noticed was her smile, her laugh, her voice; these are the things that made him feel alive and ever wanting her.
The night came, it was late. The darkness loomed over the streets, street lights, however provided light for the adventuring passengers, hoping to get home, despite the rain. The rain lightened up, people are now able to move around. Will noticed the time, after all time never stops for anything or for anyone, it is the master of its own self. The conversations, the laughs, have lasted for a long time, but time has come to bid farewell, to the girl that made his life complete for at least that single moment.
“Well, Claire, it’s been nice meeting you. I did not expect for any of these things to happen, yet it did, yet it did.” Will said to Claire, while feeling poetic.
“Neither have I, Mister Will, but I expect that you will still be visiting me? In my castle?” Claire asked her “Prince” with a smile.
“Well, yes of course, my dear princess, we will meet once again.” Will replied to the “Princess”.
They laughed; Will stood up, took Claire’s hand, and kissed it gently. Time, space, universe, destiny, and everything else bounded their time together, that single moment, everything that has happened somehow feel all planned, by something or someone out there for the two of them.
Will left, waving goodbye to his princess, he will be coming back and she will be waiting.
Day 12 and beyond
Will has spent most of his afternoons there now, with his friends. He introduced them to her, to Claire, to his Princess. They talked about the thing that had happened six days before and it gave them a laugh. They would talk and talk, about anything and everything, for all these things matter, when both of them are together. He knew the feeling was never understood, nor was it familiar, it was never been comprehended, nor has it been touched, it comes forth whenever time let’s it come, and hits you with all the wonders and the beauty of the world, that is Love.
That day, he knew that something must be done and no longer can wait. It was late afternoon, the two of them left together, laughing and talking to each other, then silence from the both of them. They looked at each other in the eye, seeing the very deepness of their souls, showing who they are to each other and Will knew what to do. It was time. Will took Claire’s hand and said, “I am not a poet nor am I Shakespeare, I am not a knight with shining armour or a hero with powers. I am just a man that saw this beautiful woman that no words can explain her beauty nor no gifts can appreciate her kindness.” Then a pause.
“The time I saw you, was the time I found out that the world can stop, that our hearts can beat, not just for us, but for someone else. That was the moment that I realized that our brain can actually stop functioning for a moment, stop its logical reasoning and its way of judgement and let something else through. That was the moment I knew love. And all the days of mankind and this world, cannot be enough for me to apprehend or compliment such beauty and such kindness that I found in you. So today, let me start, today, let forever start, to the ends of our time, to the uncertain future, which I know will be certain, for I will be with you.” Will then took a deep breath.
“Claire Anderson, my friend, my princess, my queen, will you be forever mine?” Will asked her. She smiled, her whole face was red, people were looking at them.
“Wow........ It’s like we’re getting married or something.” She laughed, “Well, Will, that was.....unexpected, like everything else in this world. But Yes, I will be forever yours.” She responded.
They smiled at each other and Will was certain that his life was forever changed, not just by the threads of time, not by the strings destiny, but by someone up there looking out for him.
Years after that day, they found themselves in the same scenario, but it was no longer in cafe where it all started, but it was in a church. Will wearing the finest suit man can make and Claire there with him, in the eyes of God. There will people around them, but once again, they felt that there was just the two of them. They knew that their future is certain and they remembered that the story of theirs started, “Once upon a cafe.”