Coffee

COFFEE PROVEN TO BE LIFE-THREATENING!

Ron was worried. The bolded headline seemed more threatening than the boss’ complaints. Ron was good at his job and he had nothing to fear. The boss just likes to make threats when he has a chance.

Health’s not to be played with. Ron was holding his freshly made cup of coffee, with carefully added milk, just as he liked it. He opened the online newspaper which he reads every morning before work. He would never actually read it, he would just open the page and scroll through it, only to see what’s new in the world. He wasn’t particularly interested, nor did he ever feel the urge to devote more attention to this immense series of events. Some of them were quite disturbing, others even more so, but there is no point in crying over spilt coffee. There’s nothing Ron can do to change what’s happened.

But why does it say that coffee is life-threatening? Since he was a child, Ron had the habit of drinking white coffee. When he would crawl out of his bed in the morning, grumpy and not eager to go to school, a cup of coffee his mother made especially for him would be waiting on the kitchen table as a consolation. It was basically milk with a few drops of coffee, but those tiny drops were enough to awaken his love for the hot, black drink.

Maybe he shouldn’t drink it as much? No, that wouldn’t be enough, after all those years of devoted consummation. He should stop. Grievous, Ron drank a little sip and then spilled the coffee down the drain. A great sadness filled him as he watched the dark liquid disappear.

Ron put on his jacket and headed to work, with determination in his steps. It may be Friday, but it doesn’t mean the day would be less tiring.

Friday. Yes, there was something about Friday… Something he should’ve remembered. He thought about it as he drove, but it had escaped him completely. He knew he had a meeting with an important client today. A lot of money was in question. But no, that wasn’t it. It probably wasn’t as important, because Ron always remembered important things.

On his way in, Ron met Lea. She was very pretty, as usual, even in strict business attire, with an old-fashioned silk scarf around her neck and tied hair. He smiled at her, because that was all he could do. Even though they were seeing each other for a while, they didn’t want it to become the talk of the office.

“I’ll see you in the evening”, she said as she walked by, leaving behind her a sweet trace of perfume.

Lea was not one of those women you can recognize by the perfume scent. It seemed to Ron that she smelled differently each time. He knew she had a lot of perfumes. She liked to collect interesting little bottles. She would arrange them carefully, first the bigger ones, and the smaller ones in front of them. For her, perfume bottles were decoration. The only decoration besides a big painting in the living room. She liked simplicity.

As he walked past her, Ron thought he should book a table in a fancy restaurant. They weren’t able to spend time together for a while. Last weekend, she went on a business trip. He wasn’t sure where, but he remembered it was something nice and warm. Mediterranean? Greece maybe. He should probably go to Greece once, on a vacation.

There was some time left before the meeting. Ron felt the urge to drink a cup of coffee but he was determined to stop. He’s been refraining from smoking his entire life, even though he found blown out cigarette smoke seemed oddly alluring. He wouldn’t, after years of restraining from cigarettes, allow to be killed by coffee. He doesn’t even drink alcohol, not nearly as much as some of his colleagues who turn into monstrous drunkards every Friday. Especially not now, when he spends his weekends with Lea.

That’s what he had forgotten! He and Lea were supposed to have dinner at her place after work. That’s the thing he couldn’t remember in the morning. He felt a little ashamed for forgetting it.

It was the time for the meeting. Ron took a deep breath and swallowed his worries. He knew how to put his feelings aside and get things done – orderly and efficiently.

When the meeting was finally over, and they always take longer than they should, Ron felt ashamed again. He decided to buy a box of chocolate for Lea. Or maybe flowers? She doesn’t really eat anything with too much sugar, and he didn’t want to buy the wrong thing. Ron had never actually seen her eat anything sweet and he didn’t know what kind of candy she liked.

In the end, he bought roses. Red ones, like in the movies.

She welcomed him, looking completely different than few hours ago. Her hair was down, and her dress flowy and light, the complete opposite of the uniform-like grey skirt she wore in the morning. It seemed to Ron that there were two Leas – the one he knew from work and barely spoke to, and the other he spent his free time with. There was something mysteriously attractive about business-Lea, the person he didn’t feel he knew. Lea never spoke about business. She didn’t want to talk about work at times when she should be relaxing.

When they first spoke outside of the office, she was also wearing a dress. It was red and she stood out in the crowd. He couldn’t resist the urge to talk to her.

“Lea Pratz? Publicity department?” he sounded embarrassingly official.

“I’m only Lea now. No departments”, she smiled.

It was the first time she saw her smile.

“Roses?” this evening, she was smiling sarcastically.

“You don’t like them?” he asked, a little confused.

“I don’t really like to keep flowers in the flat. You need to change the water, clean up the fallen petals… But they’re nice”, she said, unimpressed.

Lea didn’t make the food. She didn’t mind cooking, but she couldn’t stand cleaning the kitchen. However, the food was from a nice restaurant, and it was very good.

“Have you heard about that young actress…? Horrible”, she commented.

“Which actress?”

“Emilia Nestor. Didn’t you hear?”

“Oh, I think I know who she is. I remember seeing her name in the newspaper but I can’t remember what the article said.”

“Well, it seems she’s going to marry this old guy. I mean, she’s twenty-and-something, she shouldn’t even be getting married in the first place. Especially not this manager… He’s almost sixty!”

“Yes, that is horrible”, he agreed.

“Do you want coffee?” asked Lea as she ate her last bite.

“Oh, no, thanks.”

“Really? You always want coffee.”

“I read something in the newspaper. It seems coffee is really bad for you.”

“And you believe that? I did hear something about it, but I didn’t really pay attention, didn’t think it was that serious”, she shrugged.

“Maybe you’re right, but I decided to stop anyway.”

She smiled. She didn’t seem to take his decision seriously.

“I don’t like coffee anyway, so I don’t really care”, she added.

Tomorrow morning, Ron woke up at exactly seven o’clock, as if he was going to work. His body was completely accustomed to waking up at this precise time it almost became its own alarm clock. Ron didn’t mind. On the contrary, it was the perfect time for a morning run. Jogging is always useful – it is good for your health and makes you feel better. He was never quite sure if it was recommended to run before or after breakfast.

After a good run around the park, Ron turned on his computer to scroll through the newspaper as he ate his breakfast. He couldn’t read about the wars, inflation, and the violation of human rights, he felt too good to trouble himself with things like that. Then he paused for a while, a little confused.

In bolded print, glaring in front of his eyes, the title said:

COFFEE PROVEN TO HELP YOU LIVE LONGER!

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