I don’t want to drink it.
To lift the white ceramic cup to my lips would be to disturb the swirls of rich cream-and-brown foam on its surface.
And so I stare at it instead, note how the fern-like edges of the rosetta spread out into circles at the cup’s edge.
I rarely order lattes. Mostly I drink coffee; it’s cheaper, for one, and there’s more of the strong coffee flavor I’m accustomed to. But there’s one coffee shop where I always ask for one, because the barista makes the most beautiful lattes I have ever seen.
That’s where I am, waiting for a friend on a gray, chilly Tuesday afternoon, staring deep into the latte foam that clings to the surface.
My editors really should fund afternoon coffee shop hours. Sitting here makes me want to write, fingers itching for a pen. I see the details more clearly: how the tiny shot glass of water is reflected back in the spotless silver tray; how the light catches on the tray’s ridges; how tiny bubbles are forming across the top of latte as it cools.
I finally lift the cup, and the rosetta slips away. My friend arrives, and I put away the pen.
Coffee shops have always had this effect on me. I don’t know if it’s the atmosphere, or the people passing around me, or the caffeine or just being away from distractions like ferrets or dishes or a messy desk. But every time I walk into one, I want to write.
Words are few, lately. I struggle to write here, type and erase and type and erase. But in 10 minutes at the coffee shop Tuesday I wrote two pages, pen never stopping on the white notebook paper.
Maybe this calls for more frequent lattes?