The Hot Chocolate.

The Hot Chocolate.

A Story by Celâl Bey
"

Ivan has one last meeting, at a cafe, before he hits the sack after a week of hard work..

"
Ivan's dark green Ford lumbered down the slick roads on a bustling evening, his heavy eyes dazed by the lights- red, golden, blue & silver- shining overhead and their twisted reflections on the windshield and the puddles on the street. He eased the car into the half-empty parking lot of Al's Cafe,squeezed his eyes shut, rubbed them with his long fingers and walked out of the car, neither bothering to brush his tousled brown hair nor scratch the crusty stain off his blue tie. He needed sleep and here he was, walking into get coffee. Why couldn't she pick a bar?..or a restaurant?, he wondered, his mind heavy with thought, his labouring feet dragging his slouching body to a small table near the window.
Soon, he saw Rita's car ambling into the parking lot. As she made her quick steps towards the table, he pulled out his cigarette case only to notice the sign hanging above his head.'No Smoking'. As she walked over, silently and sat down opposite,he noticed that slender curl of hair by the side of her face that she always kept brushing behind her ears. Then as she started giving her order he heard the all-too-familiar drone of her voice that he had grown to loathe over the years. She ordered the scones and an espresso. He got donuts and a milk shake- as soon as this ordeal was through, he was going to hit the sack and stick to it for the weekend. "3 hours of sleep in the last 2 days!" he thought, rubbing his burning eyes till they were red.She brushed that straying curl again and lifted her eyes to silently study his face. He met her reflective gaze with his own- cold & questioning. " Are you drunk?" she asked him." No...i just haven't got a lot of sleep... the work...n all.." he mumbled.
" Ivan...", she started again after a pause" ...things have gotten out of hand.. I realize I may be at fault...". ('Maybe' at fault?? thought Ivan). "...well, I am at fault.. A lot of fault..". (Exactly!) "... But, well, now I'm accepting that.. And I always loved you". (Oh! You're accepting that!.. And you loved me..! Well, that changes everything doesn't it! Only, you were under HIM and saying His name.. What was that b*****d's name.... I keep forgetting the name?) "Jeremy..." ( yea ...Jeremy.. that..b) "..wants to say he's sorry.. That it turned out this way.. You've always hated him, but he's... He's not all bad.. I.. love him.." ( well, of course... I thought that was why you were sleepin with him!) "...and... the thing is, Ivan.."( Oh for the love of God! stop calling me 'Ivan'.. Like a god-damn stranger) "... I was going through a time when I needed..a sort of..a validation. To feel like I still really mattered... I never really enjoyed my work. I didn't see the point of all the money...I was sick of all the clothes and the shoes and the furniture and... I couldn't agree on anything with Ryn... I didn't feel like I mattered as a mother.. And... I didn't feel like your lover... There was just no excitement, no...., nothing to pursue..... And... I'm sorry to say, but, Jery was all that to me..." ( Jery.... So, 'Jeremy, the guy at the office' was Jery now...and I'm Ivan..) "... the passion you know... I just felt really...young again and..on my toes... I needed that, Ivan.. I wanted to find a new spark.... Something else to push on for... And look forward to " ( Huh!... Passion, curiosity and on-my-toes coming from the girl who said in college that all that 'excitement and butterflies' was not real love, just the insecurity that's often confused for love ...That real love was "constant,..quietly eroding the rocks in its way, all of life teeming wherever it touched.." when we were by that stream..or brook... That stream we camped next to...by the side of which we pitched a tent but slept outside in one sleeping bag..so that you could "look at the stars..and feel the first touch of the sun". Of course you don't like your work.. I've always wondered how you could grind through an 8 to 5 job.. You killed off all your old dreams one by one....poet, song writer, activist, newspaper editor... And now you're cutting me out of that picture too... are you?) " Ivan... You've changed..or I've changed.. I dunno... Maybe I made you change....But this is how it is now. This is what I need now.." Ivan just rubbed his eyes and closed them tight. Partly to stop the welling tears and partly to anticipate the sweet escape of the long weekend of sleep that awaited him. He just sighed and nodded with his eyes still closed. ".. I'm sorry Ivan, I'm sorry it came to this...." her voice breaking, just a bit ( I'm sorry too.... I've changed. And you've changed. Maybe you've forgotten...but 'the only certain thing is change'...or something like that.. Did I change you? Did you trade your biggest dreams for a life with me..? How could I live up to all that Rit....? I'm just me.... I'm still figuring it all out.. Just like you.. Probably less than you. A person.... No matter how interesting..can't be a substitute for the whole life you want...!
I'm gettin sick n tired of this.... I just wanna sleep.. God! Is that so much to ask? This is the third time we're having this conversation Rita.. I might accept your decision some day, but I can't let myself understand it! I can't bring myself to come to peace with it! I can't forgive myself..or you...for this! I intend to Live with this regret, Rita... I intend to feel this pain.. I intend..to USE this regret...and this pain. To torture myself with it. But I'll listen to you tonight. Coz I think you're not telling Me about 'what you needed' and ' what happened'.. You're telling yourself! Yeah..You're the one that needs convincing... And if you need me here for that... If you want me to listen.. Well, fine.. I'll listen to you! But you can't convince either of us Rita.... You can't. I'm just... I'm beaten..! Wait...Ok..! She's stopped talking! I should say something now....
"Rita!" Ivan heard himself call out unsurely, as he reached forward and held her hands.. "This is the third time we're having this conversation..! I might accept your decision some day, but I can't let myself understand it! I can't come to peace with it! I can't forgive myself..or you..for this! I can't let myself..! Even if I could..! I intend to Live with this regret Rita...and this pain! And it will torture me all my life..But I'll listen to you tonight.. Coz I think it's not Me that needs convincing... You do! You're the one.. that needs convincing! And if you want me to listen, I'll listen..! I'll listen to you all night. If you want to be heard, you deserve to be heard Rita..But you can't convince either of us Rita.... And you know that.. This is just another tough rock...that we have to weather through...like the stream.. You told me once that maturity is not about staying the same and cowering away from mistakes..but walking out of the mess a wiser person... I believe that we can walk out of this mess, Rita... I believe we can come out wiser.. I know I've changed Rita.. And I can change again... For you... I have to change for you...." He looked right into her eyes as she closed them tight and a small tear glinted at its corner. He felt her fingers gripping his hands, shaking, as she broke down sobbing. He squeezed her hands like he did when he first confessed his feelings to her ,but his grip was much weaker, their skin more wrinkled, but in this frailty and roughness he felt the solidarity and warmth of familiarity. His arms might have grown weaker, but he felt surer. He knew that she felt the same. As she looked back up at him, he knew what her eyes were saying. As she leaned forward to touch her forehead to his own, her elbow pushed the cup of hot chocolate off the edge of the small table. Wait... Who ordered hot chocolate? he thought as he saw the glass tumble down slowly in the air... Some of it spilling on Laurence Fishburne at the next table... What?? What in the world is Laurence Fishburne doing at Al's cafe..??As he wondered, he felt, then heard a young waiter jabbing at his shoulder " Sir, You'll have to leave now".. Leave?? WTF? Why? He turned to get a good look at his wife again and as he looked at her, realized...that his eyes were closed. He was dreaming...! Then..Rita..?)
He opened his eyes to see the empty seat before him. The lights were being dimmed in the gloomy cafe. Waiters and busboys were heading home, one of them stood by his shoulder as he startled awake " Sir...." he said " you've been asleep.. And I'm sorry.. but the lady has left." " I...dozed off...while she was talking..?" "Yup..I think so, sir.... I'm sorry..she... Seemed really depressed.." Ivan paused, his lips sealed and tense, trying in vain to remember exactly when he had fallen asleep. He stood up slowly, grabbed a cold donut, paid the waiter and walked to the door of the empty cafe. As he dragged himself across the long, dark aisle, nibbling his donut, the waiter called out " Good night sir."
****************

© 2013 Celâl Bey


Author's Note

Celâl Bey
I'm making an attempt to write more regularly now.. Your honest opinion can make a world of difference... So please leave a review.. :)

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Featured Review

Very impressive indeed. I liked the whole "dream" aspect of it all, how in the end, he never really got the happy ending he had hoped for; it reminds me of the poems and stories I read in AP Literature. Anyways, I am quite happy with your work, although I do some constructive criticism. First, you might want to pace your paragraphs a little more where, instead of one really long paragraph, you try to split it up into two or three. Second and finally, just some general grammatical errors that could be fixed. Overall, however, this was a very well-done piece, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. :)

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Celâl Bey

5 Years Ago

Well.. I'll work on the paragraph thing... I'd never really given it much thought..! And yea, my gra.. read more
Jared Michael Smith

5 Years Ago

Of course, that's what we're here for. :)



Reviews

Very impressive indeed. I liked the whole "dream" aspect of it all, how in the end, he never really got the happy ending he had hoped for; it reminds me of the poems and stories I read in AP Literature. Anyways, I am quite happy with your work, although I do some constructive criticism. First, you might want to pace your paragraphs a little more where, instead of one really long paragraph, you try to split it up into two or three. Second and finally, just some general grammatical errors that could be fixed. Overall, however, this was a very well-done piece, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. :)

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Celâl Bey

5 Years Ago

Well.. I'll work on the paragraph thing... I'd never really given it much thought..! And yea, my gra.. read more
Jared Michael Smith

5 Years Ago

Of course, that's what we're here for. :)

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Added on October 20, 2013
Last Updated on October 20, 2013
Tags: couple, marriage, middle aged, exhausted, dream, sleep, coffee