Coffee makes me nervous. So do you.

I’m an honest person, honestly. That’s why I’m telling you from the beginning that I’m not sure about coffee.
I hate coffee. I hate the taste of it. I hate the smell. I hate the way people get addicted to it, artificially almost, as if it were a trend. And they brag about needing caffeine to function. They even post bogus status updates on Facebook.
-I had three cups last night to pull through.  19 likes, 35 comments
-Should have taken coffee shots before the psychology test.  56 likes, 14 comments 
-Without coffee, my life would have been in the Mariana trench.  24 likes, 80 comments 
-Coffee is my rechargeable lithium ion battery! LOL  25 likes, 72 comments 
It’s stupid until you see these people without coffee—then it’s stupid again.
But for you, I’m going to try. I have tasted coffee before. I just haven’t sat down to drink it. Now I’m going to. I’m going to bravely face its nasty smell and bitter taste and silly stereotypes. Just for you. I’m not sure why. I barely know you. In fact, I’ve never actually met you. We’re meeting for coffee. I’ve never met someone for coffee. It should be normal and casual. Nothing extraordinary. Still, it’s wild and strange.  
Let’s not start this off with illusions or lies. I’m not sure what to think of coffee. A lot of people like it, but a lot of people like smoking, heroin, vegetable patties, porridge, Twilight, and QBASIC, too. Likes don’t make things great. Maybe a lot of people like you too, but I’m not sure what to think of you either. I haven’t tasted you. Are you too bitter, too strong? Are you unhealthy? I want you to be healthy. I want you to be sweet, even if it’s bittersweet. I want to like you. Maybe I already do. Maybe it’s just coffee that I’m not sure of. Or maybe it’s me. Crazy me. All my thoughts and feelings are mixed up with the past and the present and the scent of coffee in my mind.
In a way, it scares me, we meeting for coffee. It freaks me out. I don’t need tonnes of flavour and sweeteners in my coffee. Of course there should be some sweetness. Life needs flavour. It needs cream and sugar. But I don’t want people to look at me with my coffee, and laugh and say, “You want a little coffee with cream and sugar?” My coffee will be simple and unpretentious, just as you are. I don’t want to feel wussy, like a coffee fraud. I don’t want people to point at me: “Look at the stupid boy drinking coffee just to impress that girl.” It will be a weird situation to be caught in.
I’m an honest person, honestly. That’s why I’m telling you from the beginning that I’m not sure about coffee. That’s why I’m telling you I’ll try it just for you. I want to like coffee for you. You are my coffee. Please don’t hate me.
I suddenly find myself in the car. The side mirror tells me my tie looks decent, but is it good enough? Should I really be wearing this shirt? Shouldn’t I be casual? Is there time to turn around? Hell, no! I am just being stupid. But it is funny how much better things looked in the safety of my room, away from this pressure. The pressure of going out for coffee.
I shift my feet and rhythmically move my legs, as I have a habit of doing when I’m nervous.
I wonder if you have nervous habits too, or any habits, for that matter. Do you talk with hand gestures? Are you as clumsy as I? I’m babbling. Aren’t I? I fear I might spill the coffee on you. I clearly see it coming. I should better take a deep breath to stay focused. Sometimes I panic and forget to breathe. Honestly.
I still cannot take my mind off all this. Maybe I should have dressed casually. I wonder if you’ll like me, if you’ll be impressed by me. Will you find me boring? Sometimes I think about the way my grammar mysteriously becomes awful when I talk to you, and I wonder if I’m going to embarrass myself, and you, in front of all these people. What if you are not my cup of coffee? I’m scared to talk. Will I be too bitter, too strong? God! I am so freaked out right now. It’s just a cup of coffee. Hot, steaming, and bittersweet coffee. With no turning back.
I arrive, barely on time, where I promised to meet you for the coffee. I get out of the car with a sense of having grown up, with purpose. But I’m still the same silly, romantic, crazy boy, meeting a girl for coffee for the first time. I walk inside, trying to force confidence in my steps, constantly instructing my body: No need to be nervous. She won’t notice. Just act strong. As strong as coffee!
And I see you. I recognise you from your photos, and you recognise me too. You know it’s me. It’s us now. You’re smiling. My heart’s racing and I’m nervous, I’m scared, oh, I’m so scared. But it’s good to see you smile, to finally see you altogether, to hear your voice, to meet you for coffee. I smile back and I know it’s going to be all right. The feeling is indescribable, possibly embarrassing, but we’ve both waited for it.
We’re two writers, two nervous musicians, silly, like-minded people, pushing our way through a common ritual, meeting for coffee. We shake by with all the wrong verbs and stutter in and out of vibrant, dramatic adjectives. We’re putting colour in black and white, and we’re adding flavour with sideways glances. The rest of the world has ceased to matter. We are in ourselves two similar cups of coffee, accustomed to this situation, to the frightening mix of hormones, caffeine, and words. 

It is another lame conversation—Hi, how are you? Good, you? Good. I don’t believe. Really? Smiles. Gasps. Cream and sugar. We look around like tourists, like we’ve never seen a coffee shop before. It feels like time is slowing down. The acceleration due to gravity is gone. Even science cannot define what I am at this moment. I guess I am just mad, maybe. I don’t care. I just want to listen to you and our conversation to be endless. I want to be honest; I am very nervous right now. I might appear natural and confident. Still, I am nervous.
I look you in the eyes, although I never look girls in the eyes, although I have self-esteem issues and I’m nervous and I think you’ll hate me, although I’m terribly self-conscious. I look right into your eyes this time, and say the line I’ve been writing, rearranging, editing, and rehearsing in my mind the whole way here.
“Let’s get some coffee.”
- Anik Yadav

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