Then the inevitable happens: the fragrance of croissants, even if it’s late afternoon, the waitress that passes between the tables with glass cups with inviting contents – and the aroma that is released as she walks by.
An emptiness opens up before me, which has to remain unfilled.
“Hi girls. What can I bring you?”
“Green coffee for me and ganoderma, as usual”, responds Viola, while I look at her with one raised eyebrow, without understanding.
“And for you?” the waitress asks me.
“I’m fine, thanks”, I say, aware that this seems a bit unfriendly.
She, instead of looking at me crossly, smiles at me and says:
“What? You’re not going to just sit and watch!”
This time both my eyebrows are raised for the surprise, but I remain in silence.
“Go on. We have some really special coffees. It’s impossible that there’s nothing on the menu that you like.”
Then I speak, in my defence.
“It’s not that I don’t like them. They look great. It’s just that I’m a bit intolerant and I can’t touch certain things. But don’t worry, it’s not a problem.”
“Look. I’ve also got intolerances. I chose this line because it’s suitable for everybody… I couldn’t be a waitress and not taste what I offer to my customers. Trust me: I’ll bring you a ginseng coffee.”
I’m impressed with the effort, but I hesitate. Who knows if she’s sincere or if it’s just all marketing.
“But I’m intolerant to gluten; are we sure that the machine isn’t contaminated with barley?”
“All these coffees are gluten-free. Don’t worry.”
“But I can’t even eat dairy foods and refined sugars.”
“I’ll bring you a ginseng coffee, then, with coconut sugar. That doesn’t even contain milk!”
I have to admit that at this point I was curious. And, most of all, I was stuck for a reply.
“Ok then. I’ll go for that.”
“Oh, great! I’ll be back immediately, girls.”
I turn to Viola, who’s smiling.
“She didn’t even make any funny remarks on my absurd order”, I say to her, still amazed.
“Ah, she’s good. Do you know how many times she’s known how to recommend the right thing at the right time? Especially when I’d just finished maternity leave. I would arrive exhausted and she’d pick me up in an instant. I wouldn’t come here every day otherwise!”
Her argument is flawless.
When our coffees arrive, I’m intoxicated by the aroma. Mine smells of hazelnut.
I’m intrigued by this glass cup.
I take a sip and all my hesitation disappears. Love at first sip.
Viola studies me; I smile at her.