that next perfect cup of coffee

2

Dahlia: “You’re crazy - you have work tomorrow. You’re Mr Perfect who likes going to bed at 10pm when he has to work the next day. You prefer an early night with a cup of coffee rather than the obxoiously loud music in a club! What’s going on?”

Alex: “Well, maybe things have changed, and I think it would be good for us to have one last good night out. Please…come with me?”

Dahlia’s frown deepens as she stifles a yawn behind her hand. Alex’s behaviour is concerning her now.

Dahlia: “Fine. I’ll come with you and I’ll grab Kizzie. But you need to let me what’s going on…this isn’t like you.”

what the houses are...

Ravenclaw is… starting that new project without finishing the one from yesterday, messy rooms, 3am talks, theology textbook one day and Stephen King novel the next, cloud watching, star gazing, cups of tea paired with random musings, quirky nicknames, having someone constantly read your feelings, a wonderful kind of sleepy, knee high socks, coffee dates in little cafes, re-reading favourite childhood books, art time-lapses, constant fiddling,

Hufflepuff is… when you grip someone’s hand mid horror-movie, blanket forts, the feeling of taking off your bra at the end of the day, when you find that perfect gift for someone, ice cream dates on sunny days, knowing there’s a shoulder to cry on if you need it, the fuzzy feeling of making someone smile, pep talks, toasting marshmallows, falling asleep on someone’s shoulder, moments of ‘holy crap that’s the time?’, walking on newly fallen autumn leaves, swing sets,

Gryffindor is… when the teacher says you’ll be working in pairs and you and your friend immediately look at each other, the sting of a good hi five, when your stomach drops on a roller coaster, air guitar, laughing until you cry, snowball fights, looking up lame conspiracy theories, talking through a movie, smiling at strangers, getting into bed after a long day, cheesy pick-up lines, running your fingers through your hair, a cold glass of water on a hot day,

Slytherin is… late night drives, passing notes in class, telling awesome horror stories, the glint in someone’s eye when they know something that you don’t, fireworks, checking water temperature with the tip of your toes, truth or dare, marble sculptures, the satisfaction of knowing you’re right, scented candles, walking around in an empty house, hide and seek, collections, being told a secret,

coffee girl // stuart twombly

Summary: Stuart develops feelings for the girl at the coffee shop

Requested: no

Pairing: Stuart & Y/N 

Warning: no, mature language and themes throughout

Masterlist

With perfect penmanship she wrote the customer’s name on the plastic cup in her hand. Announcing their total and sending them off with a friendly smile, she prepared to do the same routine with the next person in line.

Having been doing this for over a year and a half she knew how the flow of the small coffee house worked. Even though her day consisted of a routine that some might have found boring, she thought her job was the exact opposite of that. As soon as she stepped into the shop every morning and the smell of coffee cascaded around her, she felt like she was home. She no longer worried about her university courses or the term papers she had to do but instead focused on making the lives of the customers around her a little brighter by sharing a smile. 

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The worst month ever

A couple of weeks ago my Keurig broke.  It was a sad sad day.  So I borrowed my parents old drip brewer and choked down subpar coffee waiting for the holiday sales to start.  But I was miserable.  It was awful coffee.  Barf!

So, I decided to be a little snooty and I bought a french press. I also went to my fave coffee place (where they roast the beans themselves) and bought my fave coffee ground specifically for a french press.  I was gonna do this right! I spent the evening googling instructions on creating the perfect cup of coffee. The next morning, I started the kettle, got my french press all set up according the hipsters coffee guru’s instructions.  And I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And it is true….a watched pot never boils.  NEVER.  Because my goddammed kettle broke.  Just stopped heating.  Nope.  No glorious cup of joe for me.  I was so desperate I actually overpaid for a burnt roast cup of sludge from Starbucks.  NO amount of Pumpkin Spice flavouring could mask that taste.  So, I went to Costco….stared in longing at the Keurig 650 complete with a carafe and 60 coffee pods, denied myself (and saved $160 +tax), and bought the fancy schmancy temperature controlled kettle right next to it.  

For the next 3 days I fussed, and fiddled, and maybe worked out the right ratio of grounds/water/brew time to where today, this VERY morning, I was confident I would achieve that nirvana that is THE PERFECT CUP of coffee.

I was set, it had brewed for the allotted time.  I slowly started to depress the plunger, mouth watering in anticipation.

And it broke

The godammed mother fucker broke.


So, the moral of this story is ….I have not had a decent cup of coffee in almost a month.  If any of you fuck with me, it could get real stabby.

Coffee (C.H.)

A/N: I’m procrastinating my homework and need some helpful smart Calum in my life. 

WC: 1166

It all started with one cup of coffee.

It was a little past midnight and you had finally finished the 15 page essay you had procrastinated for the past two weeks. Now it was time to tackle the biggest beast: calculus. Thank God the library stays open for 24 hours during finals week, otherwise your roommate would have murdered you. While she was a perfect student, getting good grades and finishing everything early, you were a procrastinator. Since you had waited until the last minute for your english essay, you barely had time to study for your calculus final the next day.

You sighed and rubbed your hands over your sleepy eyes. You reached for your cup of coffee, and groaned loudly when you realized that it was empty. You had been writing for hours before this and you weren’t sure if your brain could handle any math at this point. Nonetheless, you closed your computer and reached for your textbook and notes. At first glance, everything was gibberish. You were an english major, so math was just a general ed class you had to take to graduate. You were decent at it, but not proficient enough to recall things learned months ago. You put your head in your hands and prayed to the math gods for help, or more caffeine.

Ironically, both of them came from where you least expected.

“Uh, hi. The barista accidentally made my coffee wrong the first time around but gave me both anyways, and I was just wondering if you wanted my other one? You look like you could use it.” a smooth voice said from behind you.

When you looked up, you were surprised to see who it was: Calum Hood. He was a frat guy, simple as that. You’d seen him around at parties either totally wasted, or higher than a kite. You weren’t even sure that he attended classes at the university. The only time he was ever seen was at parties.

“Oh, uh, thanks.” you said, lifting your head out of your hands to see him setting down the large cup of coffee next to your textbook.

“I’m Calum by the way.” as if he needed an introduction, you thought.

“I’m (y/n).” you reply taking a long sip of the scalding hot coffee.

“So what’re you studying? You looked very into it.” he joked, noticing that you were almost at your breaking point.

“Calculus. Stupid GE shit. I hate math.” you sighed as you rearranged your notes.

“Really? I took calc as a junior in high school. It was a piece of cake.” he said, pulling up a chair.

“You’re shitting me. What’s your major?”

“I’m a math and science major. Working on my master’s so I can get a job in a lab somewhere. What about you? I’m assuming not math.” he laughs reaching for your notes.

“I’m an english major. Hoping to become a journalist. So yeah, definitely not math.” you sigh picking at the hem of your sweater.

“Well, you’re in luck because I just finished all my studying for finals and I’m all yours, now until your final.” he smiles sitting back in his chair,

You weren’t sure if he was being serious, but his words made your heart skip a beat and gave you butterflies in your stomach.

“Really? Do you really know what you’re doing?” you ask skeptically as you look down at a sample problem.

“Do you not have faith in me?” he asked lifting an eyebrow.

You had never noticed how attractive he was. His skin had a perfect even tan (even though it was the middle of winter), his jaw was very defined and his hair was perfectly messy. It took all your will power to look back at your notes.

“So what are you struggling with?” he asked scooting closer. You could smell him; he smelled faintly of mint and cologne.

“Derivatives and integrals and everything else I’ve ever learned in this stupid class.” you sighed, taking another large gulp of coffee.

“Slow down there, cowgirl. How many have you had tonight?” he asked, gesturing to the half empty cup in your hand.

“This is my third.” you replied with a sheepish smile.

“Damn girl. Get some sleep if you need that much coffee to stay awake!” he laughed.

“I really need to understand this by tomorrow. This final could make or break my grade.” you sighed ruffling the papers around, looking for notes from last week’s lecture.

“Well then, it’s my job to help you ace this final!” he announced pulling the notes from your hands.

“Don’t you have your own finals to study for?” you asked, still skeptical of accepting his help.

“I finished all mine today. I just finished typing up a lab report though, just gotta drop it off tomorrow morning. Like I said, I’m all yours for the rest of the night.” he smiled cheekily as he took a small sip of his coffee.

“I guess we should get started then, shouldn’t we?” you smiled biting the tip of the pencil.

Calum helped you study for a few hours before you knew you couldn’t keep your eyes open anymore. But nonetheless, he helped you understand numerous concepts that had confused you the whole semester. You owed him your life. As the both of you wrapped yourselves up in sweatshirts and scarves before heading out to the frigid night, you couldn’t help but smile at how cute and cozy he looked in his sweatpants and sweatshirt combo.

“Are you living on campus?” he asked as you headed out of the library.

“Yeah, I’m in the east dorms,” you sighed. The east dorms were clear on the other side of campus. “What about you?”

“I’m in the west, but I’ll walk you to your room.” he volunteered pulling you in the direction of your dorms, and away from his.

“Calum, no that’s unnecessary. Its 3 in the morning! And look! It’s snowing” you protested reaching out to catch a few falling snowflakes.

“People do crazy things to pretty girls in the middle of the night!” he laughed wrapping an arm around you.

This wasn’t the Calum the rest of the university knew, he was actually very sweet, sensitive, and incredibly smart. You now knew that he was completely different from the way people described him.

The next morning you woke up and opened the door to go use the bathroom, and there was a large cup of coffee sitting outside the door that read “Celebratory meal after that math final?  -C”

You couldn’t help but break into a smile when you read the sweet gesture, excited to get to hang out with Calum again. He was completely different from any guy you had ever met, and you never expected to get involved with someone like him, but now you were head over heels for this boy who helped you pass Calculus. And to think, it all started with a cup of coffee.

Working Class

Prompt:  ‘I write a bad pick up line on your cup every time I’m your barista’ AU

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Chapter 3: Scalding Hot and Bitter (Part 2)

Description: All Naruto needed to do was find the perfect one…

AN: A collection of one-shot’s featuring NaruHina in the workforce; inspired by cup-of-hot-coffee’s Job AUs on Tumblr. In collaboration with Kae (she wrote the second half.) Also, I really hope narupaps enjoys it.


To say that Naruto was excited to see her was an understatement. Excitement didn’t nearly describe the quick beating of his heart and the large grin that broke out on his face when he spotted the dark-haired beauty in the doorway.

She was just as cute as ever, with her blue polka dotted skirt and oversized sweater with a cat in a box printed on it. They locked eyes, and Hinata’s lips slowly cracked into a smile. Had they always looked so kissable?

Hinata strolled up to the register, fidgeting with the hem of her skirt. “Um… Hey.” She managed to say. A sly grin played on Naruto’s lips, and he rested one of his elbows on the counter, propping up his cheek.

“Hey yourself.” It was accompanied with a wink, and he relished in the fact that her cheeks became a vibrant shade of red. He did say that he’d prove himself to her. What better way to do that than to play cool? It seemed working so far anyway. “Actually, we never introduced ourselves, have we?” He said, standing upright again. Not that it mattered, he already knew her name. But she didn’t know that.

The realization seemed to hit Hinata too, since her eyes widened slightly. “Oh right! I’m Hinata, Hinata Hyuuga.”

The blond jabbed his thumb into his chest with pride. “Naruto Uzumaki at your service! Now, what can I get ya today?”

Hinata hummed in thought for a moment. Figures. She wouldn’t be ordering black coffee anymore so today, she’d finally get the chance or order something she actually wanted to drink. Naruto’s eyes never left her; the way she lightly tapped her chin in thought. The way her eyes shined when she figured out what she wanted to order. The way her lips moved when she finally expressed it to him. Of all the people in the world, this girl had a fondness for him?

He wasn’t sure if it was his boyish charm or just pure luck. He decided on the latter.

“Um, Naruto?” Her soft voice pierced through his thoughts. It was then that he realized that he had been staring at her for quite some time and he could feel his cheeks heating up. ‘Real smooth Naruto.’ He groaned inwardly.

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I want photographer!Clint, taking these stunning shots on missions, fascinated with, enthralled by beauty, finding all these perfect moments, taking shots of his friends in their most stunning forms… Natasha in shadow that leaves her every mystery or conversely in light so bright that she is nothing but exactly what she is. Thor in stunning vibrant effusive color and full of life that pushes away the dust of time. Bruce lit from within by the wonder that is scientific curiosity, relaxed in the moment. Steve, always a masterpiece of human perfection but almost never just for how he looks; always in context - sweating and laughing next to a petulant but grinning Sam, smiling softly as he listens to a child’s story, frowning in concentration while holding up a piece of rubble so that a trapped cat can be rescued. The way the arc reactor light caresses Tony’s everything and creates surreal beauty in even the mundanities of his coffee cups. Maria’s hands in the foreground, strong and so damned capable and neat and precise but never so beautiful as when dangling dirty and exhausted from her wrists over her knees after a long mission. Everyone, he catches everyone and keeps photos all over his apartment and gives them to people at random (it’s hilarious the way Steve blushes over photos of certain fellow Avengers when he thinks nobody’s looking) to keep in their offices and as gifts and Pepper’s hell bent on convincing him to put a collection in a gallery.

But never photos of Coulson, not unless it’s a group candid and never with him in the primary frame. And Coulson, being someone who has privately, quietly always felt let down about his appearance - oh he knows exactly what he is, what he’s made of and it’s strong and honorable and capable and he’s crammed a frankly astonishing amount of living into his (surprisingly many) accumulated years, but… not beautiful. Perhaps he’d… hoped, that somewhere in there Clint would find something worth looking at. And maybe he’s disappointed, but he refuses to be ashamed. He’s made his value out of everything else he is, and it’s plenty to be proud of, even when reminded so clearly of his apparent plainness. Sure, it hurts a little, but it’s not really a new pain. He’s always known how far beyond his grasp Barton is. He knows he is a skilled lover but for some people the visual is as important as anything else, as it must be for Barton. So he’s not surprised that there are never photos of him. It’s just more proof that he’s utterly unappealing to someone with such a keen eye for beauty. Another reminder not to even tend a glimmer of a hope. 

So when a series of improbable and frankly ridiculous events ends up with them in each other’s arms, missing certain death by the breadth of a fletching, Clint swears up a storm and then just up and plants one on him. Because, he explains wryly to a stunned Phil, can’t help confessing how he’s not sure he can go on without at least taking a shot (heh, shot) at Phil even though he knows he’s out of Clint’s league with all the smarts and sophistication and sheer competence. And Phil has to kiss him again and then again because how ridiculous, and the way he feels, Phil is just… he forgets that he’s unattractive right up until Clint gets him laid out naked on the bed and is staring down at him, cataloguing his every feature and telling him he is gorgeous and it’s like a bucket of ice, just kills his momentum dead and has him wanting to cover himself. He’s perplexed by the way Clint is looking at him like he’s something beautiful, so confused and even angry at the deception that he blurts out an apology for the way he looks but tells him that he’d appreciate it if Clint didn’t lie to spare his feelings. And then Clint’s confused too and clothing is being put on aw, clothes, no and everything is Not Going to Plan at all because he insists he’s not lying and Coulson scoffs and (to his utter humiliation) asks why there aren’t ever photos of him, then?

And Clint basically drags him back home and shows him the photos. He has hundreds, thousands of them collected up over the years. Every angle, every feature Phil has is captured in stunning detail. The wrinkles around his eyes in crisp black and white from a hidden smile. The light of intent focus at his core, holding up his tired frame in the middle of an interminable surveillance op, shadowed by the night and lit by glowing screens. His hands, so many pictures of his hands in every position and lighting and action. Him, standing unassuming and unremarkable and underestimated in the midst of a dizzy rialto, about to make a deal worth billions and several lives. Him, bare to the waist under rumpled safehouse sheets, soundly asleep after a long mission knowing he’d be safe under Barton’s watch, sketched in lines and shadows that make him look so human and so hauntingly beautiful that he just…

Anyway… I want some photographer!Clint is all.

Barista!Calum spending his free time, whether it be on his breaks or after his shifts, trying to think of the best words, the perfect words to express just how much he likes you. Every time you come into the coffee shop his tongue ties and all he can manage to get out is a whispered “have a nice day.” So he is constantly hunched over his notebook, working and reworking the perfect combination of words until finally, he thinks he’s got it. The next time you come to the café and place your order, Calum takes extra care, scribbling the words he’s gone over again and again, squeezing them all onto the tiny blank space on the cup. With slightly trembling hands and the faintest blush on his cheeks, he hands you your cup and eagerly watches for some sort of reaction from you. Calum watches as you read his words and he nearly faints when your eyes meet his, a small smile gracing your lips.

for anarchyaustralia and wherekatewritesthings

REVOLUTION #2

This is the second cinemagraph of my serie called Revolution.

I think smoke is a great symbole for mouvement. When you run, the dirt float in the air. From far away, it means something is coming.
Smoke could be a warning too. 

I’m coming to NYC next week, I hope to keep working on this series there.
If you wanna meet & share a cup of coffee, send me a message (I don’t bite :) ).

Have a great day,

Elyan Parker
w
ww.elyanparker.com

Wedding Bells  (Steve x Reader) (pt. 1)

Upon waking, you groped a hand around your bed, perplexed to find it devoid of anyone other than yourself before remembering: this was the morning of your wedding and, with respect to tradition, you and Steve had spent the last week apart from one another, enjoying the benefits of an unwed life before committing to one another. However, judging by how each new lonely morning was as startling and painful as the last, you had been committed to him long before any vows were exchanged.

Steve, in his typical romantic fashion, had given Natasha tokens of his affection to place on your bedside table each morning, each more loving, or “cheesy” as Nat had called them, than the last. On the first day, he had requested your maid of honor place a letter reading “A perfect cup of coffee for my perfect bride-to-be”  next to your favorite morning pick-me-up; however, while this and his other notes were sweet and, admittedly, made you grin like the Cheshire cat, they could never top the gift left for you on this last day.

Sitting by your bedside, partially obscured by your disarrayed comforter and pillows, lay an acrylic rendition of the photo the two of you had taken on your first date. He had captured everything in impeccable detail: the pink and blue hues of the Ferris wheel’s chipping paint, the way his eyes lingered on the bright lights of the city below rather than the camera you were secretly holding, the curve and bend of your smile as you laughed at something he said just as the camera shuttered, the little lipstick stain you had accidentally left on his cheek as you greeted him, you hugging the red stuffed elephant he had won for you at darts. It must have taken him months to finish it.

Turning it around, you discovered a note taped to the back panel reading, “See you soon.”

“Oh Stevie,” you cooed as you pressed his wonderful painting to your chest and embraced it tightly, beaming brightly even though you would much rather be embracing him.

The Coffee Spill(Fem! Makoto)/Closed RP with biancakibbi

Makoto was twenty two and attending her last year at a University in Tokyo.  She was studying to be a kindergarten teacher. She really loved kids and loved to watch them blossom and learn. She loved teaching so it was really perfect.

She was walking downtown with a cup of coffee in hand. She had been studying pretty hard and needed a day to get out and get some coffee. She was walking and got distracted when she had saw a cat walk by. The next thing she knew she had ran into a man and had just spilled her coffee all over him. 

“Oh my goodness! I am so sorry!” She said her big emerald eyes looking up at the other. “I’m so sorry.” She said. Her olive brown hair lightly blowing in her face. It hit past her shoulders. It was a bit wavy. 

@biancakibbi

2

I’m sorry I’ve been away for a while now, but I couldn’t pass Valentine’s without posting anything. So, there it is! A small and cliché drabble, hope you like it!

It was a cold Saturday afternoon in Hogsmeade. A perfect weather for a perfect cup of coffee. Around fifth year, Lily found a small store in the village that sold all kinds of muggle foods, including coffee and hot chocolate, and there was where she was. The red head was reading a book next to the window, drinking her steamy black coffee, not caring about the noisy store. Her eyes were so focused on the Jane Austen’s novel that she didn’t even notice when the door opened and a tall boy entered in the shop.

Lily turned the page of her old book, reaching the climax of the plot, when she heard the chair in front of her being pulled. Only then, she lifted her eyes to the person that was interrupting her favourite part of the story, a bit mad at first.

“Excuse me, but I’m trying-” Her eyes met his and she immediately shut it, trying her best not to smile. “James.”

He smirked at Lily, not even asking before sitting. James was wearing a pair of jeans, and she couldn’t even begin to describe how incredibly handsome he was. She just loved when he chose muggle clothes instead of wizard’s.

“It’s a bit sad to come to the village on Valentine’s, without a date, to read love stories, don’t you think, Evans?” James said, after he ordered his own coffee, without breaking eye contact with her. He couldn’t stop smiling.

She lied her book on the table, still fighting not to grin. “Not as sad as coming to the village on Valentine’s day, without a date, and inviting yourself to sit at a table you’re not welcome in. Don’t you think, Potter?”

James touched his chest, in a dramatic way. “Ouch. But remember, Lily, angry people are not always wise.” He winked at her.

She gave up and laughed. “Are you quoting my book?”

He shrugged, drinking his coffee in the sequence. She would never know that James asked Marlene to give him a few quotes of Lily’s favourite book in the night before. He had everything planned for that day, and she had no clue about it.

“Oh! Before I forget…” James searched for something in his coat’s pocket, taking out a small box and handing it to her.

Lily lifted her brows, completely surprised. That wasn’t supposed to happen. He couldn’t give her a Valentine’s gift, they weren’t even a proper couple yet. With her hear in her hand, she opened the box and gasped. The black box was enchanted to be bigger on the inside, and there she could see three pink peonies tied together in a little bouquet. Her eyes met his. “James-“.

“Sirius told me to give you lilies instead, but I know you don’t like it as much as you like these ones.” He said, smirkingly. Actually, James knew that her favourite flowers were peonies, however he didn’t want to sound too stalker.

“Yeah, I-” She smiled, picking the flowers in her hands and closing the box. “Giving lilies to someone named Lily. It’s just so… not creative. But peonies are my favourite, how did you-?”

Lily couldn’t find the proper words, as she kept alternating her looks at the flowers and at him. She only talked to him about this once, a very long time ago, when Snape gave her lilies in her birthday and she had to pretend she loved it. The red head couldn’t believe that he remembered it.

“That’s not fair, James.” Lily spoke, lying the bouquet next to her book, feeling a bit shamed of herself. “I didn’t buy you anything.”

James gave her the biggest smile, leaning his back against the chair. “Well, that’s easy, Evans. You can go on a date with me.”

Lily grinned. “On Valentine’s? I don’t know, maybe we’re rushing this too much.” She winked at him, fighting the ill to laugh at his disappointed expression. “I thought this was a date. I mean, it’s Valentine’s, you gave me flowers and we’re drinking. Sounds like a date to me.”

James smiled to her answer, running his hand through his hair. “Well, my dates end up with goodbye kisses, to be honest.”

“Then you’ll have to wait until this ends to know for sure.” She said, drinking the last gulp of her coffee. It definitely was a date.

Help the Homeless (to Help Yourself)

So, I’m in a bit of a sticky situation.

Some quick, basic background information to help you along and then we’ll get started with the problem - Four months ago I moved to the west from the northeast, mainly because I hate the cold, but also because the city happened to house the college of my dreams. This means that my family currently lives literally across the country from my tiny, underfurnished apartment. My roommate Kate likes to stay out all night and drink. She pays half the rent and respects the tradition of pajama/movie night Thursday, though, so I keep her around.

Anyway, about two weeks into my new life, I finally found a decent coffee shop to invest my time in. Seriously. Perfect. Not a big business, not over-busy in the morning, not so hot that it scalds my tongue every goddamn sip… It’s the perfect cup of joe, alright?

Not kidding - the next day, while I am still riding the high of this glorious discovery, I find out a homeless tramp lives in the adjacent alleyway.

And he takes a liking to me.

It’s not terrible at first. I’m not usually one to strike up a conversation with strangers. I mean, I’m a thin, seriously lanky, pale dude, with about as much muscle as you would expect a small kitten to have. And I respect the whole “teach people not to attack instead of teaching someone to defend themself” ideology but there was still no way I wasn’t considering self defense.

Turns out I didn’t need it. Although he looked off-putting, the vagrant who introduces himself to me and asks what my favorite book is (The Once and Future King, T.H. White) seems like a totally harmless, if not mildly touched, old man.

I don’t remember much about our first meeting, but something sticks about him telling me I looked lost, an awkward laugh on my part, and him then going on to proclaim that my hair was “too light” (I’m a natural blond) and “styled weird” (meaning messy). Despite this, he miraculously grew on me pretty quickly. In fact, more often than not, I would buy him a coffee in the morning too, and he would walk with me to my bus stop. The first few times I was slightly worried about him taking note of this crucial location to my life, but he never once made a fuss when it was time for him to leave. We had some pretty great conversations on our block-walks.

We’ll call him Al, because even though I’ve tried, no matter what, I still can’t bear to leave him nameless.

Al and I talked about a lot of things. We had a lot of similar views about the world. He said that he liked to go to the center of town and listen to the music young people played there. He said he liked to go to bookstores with the change he saved up. The only time I ever asked him why, he said, “This world, well- it’s a shitty one, son. No two ways about it. But in a bookstore, there’s millions of worlds that are slightly less shitty, or where it’s equally shitty, but the characters get better hands that I never got. So I like to share that time with them.”  Hearing him talk about the things he loved was one of the greatest pleasures of my life. His playful eyes lit up and he got a small smile on his partially-hidden-by-beard lips. He looked away to the left as he spoke slightly softer.

“What’s your all-time favorite book, Al?” I asked him after that.

He looked at me from the side of his eyes and smiled beneath that long, mangy beard of his. “It hasn’t been written yet,” he confessed. “But I’ll know when I find it.”

“Okay, well then, what’s your favorite, er, experience you’ve ever shared so far?”

He turned to face me full on, then. He looked me dead in the eyes and said softly, “This one.” It was the first moment I was sure beyond a doubt that I liked Al. I don’t know why I never invited him back to my house for a shower and a sandwich or something. I know Kate wouldn’t have minded. I think, at the time, I convinced myself that it was because of all my schoolwork, or that my budget was too low to care for him the way he needed it. I was selfish, but Al was nice. He never asked or imposed or even insinuated that he would like to see where I lived or use my phone.

And then, a month and a half later, out of the blue he stops showing up. I ventured as far into his alleyway as I dared the day it happened, but his treasured sleeping mat and plastic bag of books were nowhere to be found. I bought him a coffee and left it at the mouth of the alley just in case I had missed him, and I took my walk to the bus stop. It felt pretty weird to be alone. The bus regulars whom I had never spoken to actually asked me where Al was.

The next day the coffee was still there. I checked - the cup was full and cold. So, being a college kid in America and battling serious budget issues already, I couldn’t buy a coffee to waste again. I did check around the city’s homeless shelters, food pantries, and even the local emergency room as soon as I got a chance, though. Nobody had ever heard of anybody remotely like Al.

So, eventually, I let it go.

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