Coffee made her hallucinate, tremble with excitement, kept her awake with fear. It was just like having a crush, being in love, lusting after something, except that it was virtual, surreal. But coffee was all she had right now, so what the heck. Espresso, cappuccino, latte, Nescafe, whatever, she loved it, craved it.
The woman threw away the caffeine dregs in her third polystyrene-to-go mug and, immensely cheered, lifted her eyes towards the greening horizon. She was a working single mother; coffee-inspired hope ruled her humdrum world of yesterday and today. Tomorrow was her fantasy, out there, beyond the unexplored line of sky, beyond the bus route.
“Morning, ma’am, full house today, find a seat if you can!”
The blurred sea of faces turned, closing ranks, their bodies becoming wider. All except one.
Wow! The woman’s heart contracted, heat rising as she fumbled her way clumsily to the back. The bus lurched, throwing her into the only empty space, right next to the stranger whose profile she had been admiring, covertly, all week. A dark Adonis, desirable as Belgian mocha.
The coffee percolating in her veins as the world regulated itself, she smiled at luck. Her knees shook with their closeness to him, her fingers ached with need. Touch him, stroke him. She anticipated his lips, his thick lashes half-closed with desire.
Instead she thanked him for steadying her fall.
The man leaned in, and grinned back at her. Leered, showing a wall of stained and broken teeth. “Like, that’s okay! anything for a lady like you. What’s your name, babe?” He squeezed her knee – and belched. High octane foulness billowed across the sudden stiffness of her face.
From now on I’m sticking to rooibos, she thought.