It was raining again. It was night like any other when public transportation had ceased its operation. A plane had landed earlier. Time was at 0300 for the plane was at 0230. The immigration office was quick.
I saw him walking out from the airport. His travel bag seemed heavy. Made out of grey canvas with single strap, strong and waterproof yet light, he thought his belongings weren’t that much inside that bag. Trees were leave-less. Wind was getting colder. Night spanned longer. He thought of a cup of coffee so he walked to a place nearby recommended by his old contact.
The bell rang as the door was opened.
He grabbed a stool and sat next to the table before the drink-master. He didn’t speak the language and at the time, he was too tired to think of one. As the master preparing a menu for another customer, he looked on the menu, thinking of finding something of his fancy.
Excusez-moi, parlez-vous anglais? Je ne parle francais.
Ah, you must be him. Sorry for not noticing you earlier. I’ve thought you’d never be here since setting your foot in this country would only make you vulnerable. I take it you would order the usual?
Then drink master proceed to create his customer usual order. the drink master gathered the ingredients as his customer observed. Black coffee powder wasn’t on the table. He, the customer, thought that the black coffee would be available on from the machine nearby.
He contacted me about your departure from Saarbrucken but I didn’t expect you to come this late. When was your plane?
Later the drink master took a cinnamon and ground it into powder. He also took some vanilla and milk. Instead of adding sugar, he chose honey, just a little. Then he presented his making. I thought it tasted good, didn’t see his face making weird expression.
He’s fine and still makes some weird mixes. There was some invitation I had to attend to before getting here. Never thought you’d be still open at this hour.
We always open for our friends.
He sipped his cup, letting warm and sweet sensation spread along his throat. He looked at this watch and realized that he still had several hours to spend before hitting the tower. He pulled a picture from his pocket. The date told us that the picture was taken around two years ago. Two years could make all the differences. He wondered why he took this task. The coffee master was already on the other side of the table paying his greeting to a leaving customer.
There is a room on first floor he likes to use if he stays here for a vacation. It wouldn’t make much of vantage point but the view is nice. This is a sky floor after all. You can use it.
The coffee master spoke to him out of nowhere while cleaning a glass with both of his hands. Behind him, he could see the tower with its glory. The ornamental lights were bombarding the tower with lights so blinding that at rainy night, you still could see the view. He nodded and after saying thank you, he proceeded upstairs while bringing his cup.
The room was spacious. He put his cup on the table near the windows. After laying down his travel bag on the corner, he sat down and started to sip his cup. Time passed and it was 0400 and the dawn should appear at any moment. Rain in latest months of the year, night was indeed longer than usual. His cup was already empty. He pulled again that picture, turned it around, and read the message behind.
The message was written with blank ink and smudged. It was almost unreadable. He recalled his memory in Reykjavik two years ago on a hotel lounge when he ordered lemon and soda sweetened with honey and cooled with ice. It happened as if it was just yesterday.
Did that really happened? From this place to Reykjavik, the time, the distance wasn’t that short. Not to mention the fare. How did it happen in the first place?
The door opened. The coffee master entered the room with a liter or two thermos of his drink. He startled a bit when the master sat down in front of him and poured a drink to his cup. He later gazed to the distance, enjoying the city under shower.
It’s on the house. The coffer master responded to his expression. It’s been a long time since we talked last time. At least, let me be a good host while waiting the sun to come up. My watch posed at 0450. So, there is still time before sunrise.
As the master drank from his cup, he took his worn out insignia. That was of steel as well as what the tower was made of. He held that insignia firmly while gazing to the distance. The tower shone brightly and the rain got even harder. Clear view was barely affordable. The temperature dropped a little and he tightened up his turtleneck sweater. Then he drank his coffee again before it got cold.
He looked at his wristwatch. It was modern watch, a quartz, not mechanical. He tends to forget things, including wounding his watch. The battery had been changed just before his arrival at the airport. The strap was leather colored in brown like the original color. It wasn’t smooth because it’s worn out but still sturdy. The bezel was also made of steel and several lines corresponding to minute counts were forged around it. It wasn’t water resistant and might become rusty if exposed to water as he began to notice the weather outside just became heavier. He could read basic Roman numeral but he preferred Arabic. So did he with his dial.
The room was dimmed. The main light wasn’t turned on. The master said he would love to let his old eyes resting by putting them in less bright environment and looking at the infinite distance. The doctor said that by letting your eyes focus on infinite distance, the muscles were relaxed, especially those with lenses. That would decrease the risk of having myopia. This he understood perfectly. He didn’t know the time since his watch had neither phosphorus on its hands nor light behind the bezel and appreciated the master for telling him the time. It was a simple watch after all.
The two sat in silence.