Tag Archives: true stories

The Best Cup of Coffee I Ever Had

Walking in high heels

I don’t think I had ever felt as cold before as I did that night. Or since. As I sat huddled on my back doorstep, I cursed myself for being dressed so inadequately for this biting winter night. At first I shivered, gently, and then more vigorously. When the shivering began to subside  I knew I could be in trouble if I stayed.

The night was beautiful. Perfectly clear, with a purity and crispness that awed me. It was approaching 2am, two hours since the cab had dropped me back. I didn’t have a mobile phone back then. Not many people did. Desperately I searched my bag for my key. Again. My gloveless numb fingers struggled to function.

I thought about those who spend night after night on the streets and wondered how they cope. How they don’t die. Walking. Walking was what I needed to do. I couldn’t stay on that step. The only choice was to walk. I knew I still had some feet because I could see them, and I managed to stand up on to them. These dainty shoes had seemed like such a good idea earlier. One foot in front of the other. Walk. Walk. Walk.

The world was asleep as I walked the streets. No destination. No plan of where to walk. Despite feeling pathetically sorry for myself, I was also aware of a slight sense of excitement about the adventure I was on; something new to add to my life experience. My tentative first steps turned to brisk rhythmic strides. My legs walked themselves, and I was carried along. I couldn’t allow myself to stop for fear that I might not be able to start again. I knew I was there because I could see the houses and trees passing by, and I could hear the clicking sound of my heels on the ground. And yet I had the sensation of being detached and removed from myself. The extreme tiredness and coldness permeated me and yet belonged to someone outside of me at the same time.

Time speeded up and slowed down and went backwards and jumped forwards. And then I saw the lights and everything stopped. I stopped. The sign said 7-Eleven and it was open. I approached it cautiously, afraid it would disappear in a desert mirage way if I rushed towards it. I took a moment to look at my watch. 6am. The night was over. I could see the coffee machine before I was even through the doorway and I knew it would be the best cup of coffee I ever had. As I was leaving the store clutching my steaming cup of nectar, the words “I found heaven in a 7-Eleven” formed in my mind, and I smiled. It’s all about context.

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photo credit: mugley via photopin cc

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The time I secretly shared a box of chocolates with a mouse

Elephant and mouse sharing

I feel the need for a little true confession today. It all started with a box of chocolates that I had brought in to work. It was one of those tall pass-it-around-and-share-it boxes of individually wrapped assorted chocolates. I passed it around. We shared. After four or five chocolates had been taken, someone reached in and pulled out an empty wrapper. Strange. I peered into the box, and there was another empty wrapper. Not nice flat wrappers, but crumpled up ones, still twisted at one end. I delved in further, then horror of horrors, I found a half unwrapped chocolate with what looked like little tiny nibble marks in it. And then another partly nibbled one…and another!

“A mouse must have got into the box!” Someone cried.

“Impossible!” I shouted. “I’ve only just opened the box now from new and there are no holes in it or anything!”

“Well a mouse must have got to them in the factory then,” somebody else suggested.

“You must complain Vanessa, you must write to the company and complain!” They told me. I knew they were right, but first I asked the question that was on everyone’s lips, or so I thought, but it turned out it was only on my lips…

“Should we eat the other chocolates anyway first? You know, the perfectly good ones that still have the wrapping intact?”

Everyone was aghast. “Noooo!!!!” They cried. “Noooo!!!”

“But they are perfectly good!” I protested.

“They’re not perfectly good Vanessa, they are contaminated! The whole box is contaminated!”

I reluctantly conceded that they were right, I must eat no more, I must instead complain. I shoved the box into my bottom desk drawer, fully intending to write a complaint letter later. But instead I forgot all about them. Until a few weeks later when I was searching for something, and opened the bottom drawer. My eyes lit up, for a second…

Chocolates!…Oh wait..no…they’re the mouse chocolates…I was supposed to complain about them. I expect it’s too late now. I should probably just throw them away…only…there’s some perfectly good chocolates still in there, and none of us got ill from the ones we ate before…plus, there’s no actual evidence that it’s mice, it could just be mechanical damage…yes, that’s it, mechanical damage, so…

I looked up and glanced around. Everyone was busy, nobody was looking my way. I reached into the box, and pulled one out, I held it under my desk and looked at it. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s perfectly good. I slowly and quietly unwrapped it and popped it into my mouth. And so it went on. Over the next two or three weeks, when nobody was looking, whenever I got a hankering for chocolate, I would slowly and quietly reach into my box of mouse chocolates, pull one of the fully wrapped ones out and eat it. Until they were all gone. And nobody knew.

And not once when I had run out of the fully wrapped ones, and had a desperate craving for chocolate, did I take out one of the half nibbled ones, and have my own little nibble from the other, perfectly good, end. Not once, because that would be a step too far…right?

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photo credit: HikingArtist.com via photopin cc