December 10th, 2006
cafe lumiere

We decide to go to the cafe I just mentioned to her. We stroll along the street, turn into another alley and find ourselves staring in front of the large window of the cafe. I open the door for her and follow her in.

We sit down. The cafe has high ceilings, with a little staircase that goes up to a smaller floor, that serves as a kind of loft. Looking at the menu, she orders a Blue Mountain coffee, I opt for the stronger and coarser Mandheling. Having ordered, a bit unsure, we look around, half-casually. She looks gorgeous.

“Have you been here before?” I ask her. She looks at me with her big black eyes, just briefly, and lightly shakes her head.

“I am glad we are here. Even though you will be leaving soon.” She says, while looking at me.

Unsure how to respond, I look down and glance her briefly in the eye. A faint smile.

And then all of a sudden, I feel like I am a million years away, as if the present turned into a memory, and I find myself missing her, reminiscing this very moment. You wonder if that is how you are going to feel, once you really have left.

“I’m glad I met you too. The moment is kind of unfortunate, what with one month before I leave. But at the same time, I am grateful that we did meet.”

She kept looking at me, during the whole time I said those three sentences.

The coffee arrives, and a whirl of smoke emanates from the two cups of black liquid.

Adding one sugar, we stir and take a sip. A rush of warmth courses through my body.

“The coffee here is great!” She beams. I smile.

It’s one of those rare encounters that you will come across once every so many times in your life. They are brief, but leave a strong impression. In our darkest nights, we suddenly remember and cherish them dearly, at the same time wondering where she is, how come you had almost forgotten about her, and what if .. ? The brevity of the moment is similar to the sudden dead of a person in her youth: forever young and beautiful, etched in our memories, with yet so many unwritten tales now only left to our imagination.

Posted in life-as-fiction

11 Responses

  1. goose

    who/what is “Crystal” a reference to? Is that a person? the name of the cafe? the crystal ware that you spooned sugar from? what?

  2. goose

    . . . and who is that a photograph OF? πŸ˜›

  3. Loki

    does it matter? πŸ™‚

  4. AuntieBella

    Aparently it has something to do with Hsiao-hsien Hou…

    Sorry about breaking the mistery, Lok. I know how girls feel about suspensions like this though πŸ˜‰

    More apparently this girl is using her mac in the poster… πŸ˜‰

  5. Loki

    in case people were wondering .. the category this post is in is called ‘life-as-fiction’..

  6. goose

    so you wrote this as life-snapshot fiction based on the poster? I can tell you wrote it becuz that’s ur story-telling style.

    and YEAH, everything matters, becuz I’m just nosy like dat!!!

  7. lokhin

    like the way you describe thoughts πŸ™‚

  8. Linh

    excellent vignette!
    Your description of the Cafe reminds me of that coffee shop right next to the Penn bookstore. The name of it escape me at the moment.

  9. bou

    you and your ‘does it matter’ HMPH. happy holidays, sui lo.

  10. Brett

    This struck quite the chord with me due to a very similar circumstance that haunts me today. There is such a fine line though between fiction and reality. I wonder how different the moment i remember is from the actual reality of the event itself. Never mind the roles and games we play in life and the lies we tell on a constant basis.

  11. Loki

    thanks brett, appreciate what you wrote there and totally agree.

    linh: do you mean cosi? the cafe i had in mind is MUCH prettier .. but unfortunately, already gone last time i tried to look for it again.

book and sword : gratitude and revenge

is the first novel written by Jin Yong. The protagonist is Chan Ka Lok, who is the leader of the Red Flower Society. The book title refers to Ka Lok being famous for being well-versed in culture and martial arts, but also for having to make a difficult ethical decision. My father named me and my brother after him.

The subtitle is from a poem Desiderata