Creative Musings

A Cup of Coffee

Srimathi Surendran

A short story…

The kitchen windows cracked open after a stiff resistance, plagued by the stickiness left by the steam residue from cooking. I mentally pushed off, wiping the grill, though I already had at least twenty tasks added to the “I-will-do-this-in-the-weekend” category. The faint sun rays hit me as I switched on the stove, placed the pan, and cut off the corner of the Arokya orange label packet. The milk flowed in a thick stream into the vessel. How pristine! I was amazed and wondered about the chemicals that delved into the liquid, adding to this milky whiteness. After pouring a glass of water, the milk still boiled to ward off the unpleasant lactic smell. I sensed movements in the living room as the milk brimmed and threatened to overflow from the pan. I simmered down, threatened by the gushing out, about to stain the pan support. The tumblers were ready, placed on a plate, and sufficed with instant Bru powder and half a spoon of palm sugar. As I filtered the bubbling milk, the composition rushed to the rim. My ears were conscious of the careful footsteps approaching me, a slight pause—picking up the newspaper.

I swapped the drink from the tumbler into the mug and placed it over the saucer, assuring myself that the temperature was perfect, judging by the white whiff that hit my face. I grabbed two slices of bread along with the morning drink. I traversed the corridor and reached the end of the dining table, where she sat and read the newspaper, engrossed. At the head of the table, authoritative as though unaware of my presence.

“Good morning, ma.”

“Are you going to the office today?”

“Yes, ma.”

I positioned the plate on the glass fitting adjoining the wooden top. She was in her early fifties, an uncanny and astute woman, unaware of the burdening old age ahead. Her complacent posture and chic body language conjured her high-born regime. Her greying hair was neatly combed and pulled back into a bun before she stepped out of the room. Fine lines and wrinkles etched across her face, revealing a lifetime of experiences. Her attire was always impeccable, never compromising on her cloth choices, not even her night wear.

“Eat before you leave.”

As soon as I returned to the kitchen, I heard the flushing of the gurgling water through the bathroom door. I peeked at the clock; it was half past 7, and I hurried to the kitchen, turning on the stove knob to a higher flame and placing the milk pan. I stood at the door, ready with a towel and a coffee wafting with the pungent aroma of ginger in the air. I cuffed the sizzling tumbler, encompassing the brim with a forefinger and thumb, as my palms got warm and impatient for him to receive it. He was in his late sixties, slightly worn out but with a lingering regal pride in his composure. He stepped out of his room, with a heavy Colgate scent, and wiped dry his mouth with the towel.

“Good morning, Pa.”

“Office, Kanna?”

“Yes, Pa.”

He nodded while his lips curved slightly in what I would call a hello, brought the mug to his lips, and sipped; the steam wafting, tickling his grey nostrils, while the aroma entangled his senses into the day, a coffee gourmet. I darted into the culinary; in no time, I added a spoon of Levista grains and sugar into a fresh tumbler and transferred it to a metal coffee flask as the brew gushed into bubbles and emanated a cafe aroma. I kept it aside for him, as he slept tired, on the bedside table. After a quick adornment in the office attire and wearing my classic automatic watch, I threw all my makeup accessories into my bag and searched for my ID card stuck below his pillow. This he did so he could see me before leaving for the office. Yes, how sweet? But I pilfered the tag that rolled down to the floor without making him stir and slipped out silently. He woke up and pulled back the tag.

“I’ve got no time!” I shouted. Stunned by the volume of my own voice, I consciously looked out to check if someone heard me.

“I’ve got no time,” I whispered.

“Don’t go. Work from home today.”

“I have something important.”

I scrambled down after hastily doing my hair and jumped into the cab and settled down, thinking if I had missed out anything. I quickly sent a text.

“Breakfast on the table, Sunshine. Good day!”

Stepping into the floor, the security swiftly stood up and greeted with a big smile.

“Good morning, ma’am.”

“Good morning.”

As I walked through the aisle of chairs, people waved toward me and bid hello. I let myself relax in the bursting cold of the air conditioners in my cabin, and as soon as I sank into my chair, I heard a voice.

“Ma’am… ?! Coffee, strong?”

“Yes, please.”

About the Author

Srimathi, an avid enthusiast of diverse writing styles, holds the role of an associate technical writer. She has navigated the complex world of video streaming products through collaborations, honing her interviewing prowess with developers. Her unwavering ambition is to elegantly simplify documentation work through integration of plugins, cutting-edge tools, and ChatGPT.

Current Role: Technical Writer
Company: Velocix Solutions
City: Chennai, India
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