Sunday, December 28, 2014

"A Cup of Coffee and a Miracle" - A Very Short Story

Feeling the weight of everything and carrying the burdens of her past, Natalie's heart felt so heavy these days. She was perpetually exhausted. The only reason she got up in the morning was because of that coffee cup. The one that could float. The levitating mug.

Magic or Miracle?

The mundane tasks of daily life never brought her fulfillment, but brewing a pot of coffee did bring a bit of comfort. Every morning when she woke up, Natalie was certain that she could make herself a good cup of coffee. She knew she could depend on the rich caramel aroma of her freshly ground roasted beans brewing in her kitchen to trigger her senses.

Coffee was her momentary solitude of self-preservation. It was a pleasant mixture of drowsiness and renewed energy, blended with thick hazelnut cream to sweeten the bitterness of her everyday battles. Today's battle was to put on a bra, get dressed, and drive during rush hour. 

Ahh, coffee and comfort!

Every morning, she looked forward to the certainty of coffee. She was certain she'd find her own special cup in the cupboard that she had put away the day before. She was certain that the coffee she'd pour slowly into her cup was fresh.

To understand the certainty of coffee is to know how to savor its scent and feel the hot steam gently caress one's face. 

And while her love affair with coffee always began with a dance of the spoon rhythmically stirring its way into the cup, Natalie knew there was something more to it than simple comfort. 

By habit, the first thing she did was to brew her pot of coffee. Then every morning, she stared at her cup, hoping to accomplish the same act of miracle - or perhaps an act of witchcraft - that she caught her mother doing one morning years ago.
Criss Angel, what's your secret?! Mama, did he tell you?

It hadn't happened for her yet. There must be a reason why she hadn't accomplished this goal, but that was also a mystery. 

Unfortunately, she did not have the luxury of time to figure out what was lacking in her life in order to successfully levitate a coffee cup.

Her cell phone, a distracting companion that demanded her constant attention, chimed and vibrated to alert her about today's important meeting.

"Oh shit, shit, shit!" 

She fumbled through her screen and checked the time. She was running late.

Late for the meeting that was supposed to change things and turn things around for everybody.

Still, that coffee cup beckoned her to stop everything she was doing. Just stop. And stare. And wonder. That was all she wanted to do, but she must first face this pesky obligation.

Thumbs texting furiously, she wrote, "On mway. Traffic on 35."

The typo was written on purpose in hopes of deceiving her client into thinking she was hurriedly texting while driving. 

In retrospect, Natalie regretted doing that. It wasn't because she lied, but it was because the text probably made her look stupid. Risking her life by fiddling with her cell phone while she was supposed to be concentrating on the road? 

Dumb move. 

Well, she didn't actually do that, but she gave the illusion of doing it. This was such a no-win situation.

Either way, the text should have been sufficient. A little white lie. Everybody did that once in a while. Besides, there was no need to justify herself for anybody. 

Natalie was now her own boss. She did not answer to anybody, except maybe to JoBeth, her newest client. 

JoBeth's split second response startled her when the phone chimed and vibrated with four consecutive incoming text messages. 

"Don't forget to bring the proofs." Chime. Vibrate.

"Is the press release done?" Chime. Vibrate.

"What's my Twitter password again?" Chime. Vibrate.

"Maybe I should invite my pastor to sit in at the meeting. What do you think?" Chime. Vibrate.

Taking a deep breath in with her nose, and then out with her mouth three times, just the way she learned it in yoga class, Natalie texted back.

"Relax. I've got everything sorted out. I took care of everything, and you'll do great!"

That was probably a lie, too, but who was she to predict someone else's future? As far as Natalie was concerned, the future was fair game for everyone. 

JoBeth, though, was such a hot mess. She needed every bit of help that Natalie could provide to build her back up from where she fell.

For now, Natalie, cozy and content in her fuzzy pajamas and rainbow-colored socks, took a slow sip from her coffee cup and placed it on the counter. 

Catching the steam emerging from it, she raised her hand in upwards and circular motion sincerely believing that she could levitate the thing. Of course she couldn't do it, just like her mother really didn't levitate anything at all. 

Natalie, always oblivious to details, never noticed that her mother's coffee cup was especially designed to look like it was floating in the air. 

Inspired by a banana holder, the floating mug had a built-in coaster that was attached to the handle. So from one side, the mug looked like it was levitating in the air. 

This is an actual product you can order.

"Dammit," she cussed again. 

The meeting was in fifteen minutes, but she was still not dressed. And she already told JoBeth she was on 35, but she had yet to shower. 

She was going to have to practice the levitating later. Right now, she needed to perform a miracle for JoBeth and get to that meeting. 

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