1. The second best place to observe people is at a coffee shop. (The best being airports and/or train stations - some place of departure and arrival.) The sheer diversity of people sitting in different parts of the cafe fascinates me. The small army-like crowds of housewives chatting away about their husbands, children, the new soap opera, any or all gossip about “that young thing” next door with her promiscuous outfits; the kids in uniforms presumably cutting class to take a sip of their favorite sugary drink that is probably a bazillion calories, but who cares they’re young; moody, depressed individual in his/her secluded corner who probably wants a drink not a coffee; the gadget geek hogging the wi-fi and the table closest to the plug doing God knows what; and then there’s me - the wannabe writer who types away furiously and then pressing the “delete” button for an infinite period.
2. I like black coffee. I don’t like to add sugar or milk. It can be iced or hot. There was a brief period where coffee in the morning was a habit, to the extent my body would feel different without it. Now I can survive without it and the caffeine doesn’t quite wake me up like some say it does. I first began drinking coffee because it made me feel grown-up. Sophisticated even. But I’m not a coffee snob. I can’t distinguish South American coffee beans to the ones from Africa. I don’t know if this cup is “fresh” and whether the beans were grounded just right.
To be honest, my favorite is coffee is the one they sell at gas stations, the one that was sitting out for who knows how long, the one that the grumpy cashier pours into a white styrofoam cup, the one where the only decision you need to make is how much you want to drink.
3. Going to coffee shops at one point became a very anti-social thing. The nearest Starbucks, the one that is always full with the loudest people, ironically became a sanctuary I visit to escape. Escape from what you ask, but I don’t quite have the answer. Just to simply be away, I suppose.
I’ll never manage to get the seat near the plug or with a view and end up in that one part of the cafe that everyone avoids because the heater would emit warm air right into your eyes. I’ll always manage to forget one thing at home and that particular one thing would bother me until my battery runs out.
Sometimes I’ll turn on the radio, YouTube or whatever source of music in the background while I’m getting ready to go out. And sometimes, a random song would play and hit me at full speed. More than the melody, the lyrics jump into my ear and my world halts for a while. The words soothe, heal and sympathize with the mess of a state that I am in and immediately emotions rush in. I have no choice but to stop and stand there; embracing whatever it is that is going through my head.
That happened three times today.
Sometimes I feel like crying for absolutely no reason. Strangely enough, I don’t cry when something ‘actually’ happens. When something overwhelming or tragic or frustrating or stressful (or all of the above) happens, I switch onto survival mode and push through to get whatever it is that needs to get done. Even if it means pushing people around, darting from one place to another, downing countless cups of coffee and energy drinks, not being able to sleep properly for days and falling sick, I manage to get it done without a single tear. So after a thorough analysis and many nights pondering, I realize that those moments come when I feel lost; when I feel powerless to make a difference, when I can’t find the words to describe what I’m feeling, when I feel detached from the rest of the world. It isn’t necessarily triggered by a single event but rather when efforts lead to failure, when conversations lead to deadlock and hopes are crushed by a multitude of reasons and individuals.
That sometimes didn’t happen today.
Sometimes some things are better left unsaid, unquestioned and untouched. But sometimes some things are not.
I’m slowly regaining my courage to wonder, to ask and to reach out.
1. I feel exhausted. Exhausted by the fact that I have to explain everything, that I have to live in fear of being judged, that at the same time I desperately wish to be understood. I am sick and tired of having to make excuses for myself to be the way I am, being pressured to have a reason for every expression or gesture, struggling through day by day in order to meet your standards.
2. I am hopelessly and madly in love. With the leaves that still fall and crunch under my feet, with the cool breeze that tickle my nose, and with you. YOU. Despite the fact that sometimes you can’t and don’t try to understand, that sweet words and warm embraces are given at the whim of your emotions, that you’re just too much of an independent and detached person, I still can’t run away from the existence that is you.
3. Insecurities and comparisons are suicidal states of mind. You can either preemptively stop it or proactively conquer it. The choice is yours.
4. I sincerely pray on a wishing star that I will be courageous and strong.
Life is a journey, not the destination. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
When traveling, never have I been able to find my destination at the first try. I end up circling the center square or walking back to the station or wandering in alleys with no names until finally, finally, I end up where I wanted to be. Interestingly enough, what I remember from those trips are not necessarily the destinations themselves, but the process of how I got there. The Italiano that offered me a cup of espresso, the tiny shop that sold beautiful hand-drawn postcards, the tranquil bench in an abandoned corner of the city - these random moments, stops and people are what lingers when the plane lands back home. Those are the pieces that I treasure and love.
That’s how this month has been; wandering through unknown roads, stumbling on unexpected stops and getting lost. Totally lost. It’s been lonely, at times frightening, but most definitely interesting. I’ve discovered, befriended and fallen in love with places and people that I would not have, had I paid a closer attention to the map. I still desperately want to go to where I want to be and as the sun sets, panic slowly creeps upon me pushing me along my way, telling me to stand up and start walking.
As brilliant as October was in terms of learning and growing from all the random and unexpected chain of events, I sincerely hope that November will be a month of stability, clarity and zen. That I will finally reach my destination and fully embrace all the beauty it has to offer.
It’s funny how someone could be utterly robotic. How all the sweet words and embraces and care in the world could vanish in a heartbeat. How someone could just give up. Leave. Run. Without lingering onto what is golden. It’s simply not human. It’s simply not fair.
Mellow music plays in the background while the two of us are typing away; tap, tap, click, click. Faint scent of freshly brewed coffee lingers while I finish my cup of hot, tangy citrus tea. His brows squirm ever so lightly in frustration. A quiet sigh exits his lips. Something must not be going the way he wants. I quietly wait until he looks up. We both smile. A brief warmth shared and then back to work we go. Type. Think. Work. GO.
These are the small moments I’ve come to love and appreciate in our barely month old relationship. The fact that we can sit in a quiet corner of a cozy cafe and silently concentrate on catching up with the world that seems to be spinning oh-so-ever too fast. Drafting and editing endless proposals, drafting business e-mails, and the reading, oh the reading. There’s simply not enough time to absorb all that I, we, need to. Amidst the pdfs, Googledocs, scribbled memos here and there that slowly evolve to massive migraines, the very fact that someone right across from me is a. exists, b. going through the same mess and most importantly, c. there to give me a hug at the end of the day simply leaves me speechless.
At how lucky I am. At how happy I am. At how wonderful this is. To not just have someone, but to have someone who understands I need my space and time, that I sometimes need to just bury myself in work and think of nothing else but that at the same time I need that reassuring hug or kiss to feel okay.