Sunlight slanted through the open window and splashed onto the table, coloring everything with a rich golden hue. The sounds of other people enjoying their breakfast mixed with birdsong and the traffic outside the window. I was on the third floor at a table looking out over the city, awash in morning light. I wrapped my hands around my mug, relishing the warmth of it, and brought it to my lips. Strong and bitter black coffee, one sugar, just how I like it. The taste of it seemed to sharpen my senses and wake me up.
Over the rim, I snuck a glance across the table and found myself looking into sea-green eyes. He was leaning back in his chair, lazily, one arm slung over the back and the other resting on the table. A dark leather jacket hugged snugly
to his frame and a mess of black hair tumbled over his forehead. I could see his booted foot flung out into the space between our table and the next, almost blocking the path. His face was in a half-shadow and it made him seem almost menacing and dangerous. Chuckling, he watched me close my eyes, finish my sip and give my coffee a last deep inhale before I set it gently back on the table. His gaze was penetrating and it made me uncomfortably self-conscious -is there a coffee stain on my teeth, is my shirt rumpled in the front, do I have a hair sticking up on the top of my head?
To hide my discomfort -perhaps in spite of it- I leaned closer and put my elbows on the table. I wanted this closeness as much as I feared it. With closeness comes vulnerability and over the years, I had honed my armor to be impenetrable. Now, I was the one trying to break it down and take it off. This gorgeous boy sitting in front of me could be everything that I wanted in a man. I knew that was a possibility. I knew that I could have a future here. So, I swallowed the fear and made myself meet that gaze.
“Why are you chuckling?”, I asked.
He paused a moment before he spoke, taking the time to close the distance between us and lean closer. His face entered that sunlight and lit up his eyes and suddenly, I could see the warmth in them and something almost like wonder.
“You drink coffee like it’s the last cup on earth,” he said, a sly smile revealing white teeth. “You take the time to savor it and smell it, and hell, even just look at it. It’s interesting”.
I let a slow smile creep over my face and, for once, I didn’t analyze the conversation or try to come up with what I thought he wanted to hear. I was just honest.
“You should see what happens when you slow down and really see and feel and hear what’s going on around you. When you take the time to really listen and really taste. I guess, it’s just about truly experiencing and not just going through the motions” I said, a little bit shyly but there it was.
“I like that, truly experiencing things. Let’s try it”, he said, and with that, he leaned across the small table between us, knocked over the sugar dish, put a hand in my hair and kissed me.
Slowly and deeply, the kind of kiss that makes the world fall away. I was distantly aware of somebody sniggering but the next moment, I was lost.
And I thought, this is it, and the fear slipped away.