Like Little Diamonds Floating Down by Melvin Corey Young

Like Little Diamonds Floating Down by Melvin Corey Young

       The sun shines down sending brilliant rays of light through my glass of iced coffee. The light makes the bits of raw sugar floating in the glass shine like diamonds in the sun. The sugar sinks to the bottom of my glass, it is raw, hard, and does not dissolve. It forms a little molasses colored pool along the bottom. The coffee is lightened by added milk, changing the color from almost black to a caramel brown. The cup is cold to the touch, beads of condensation drip down the side in little rivers. The ice clacks as I tip the cup to drink. Milk bubbles create white foam on the surface of the caramel liquid; the sugar is slightly crunchy and sweet.
       I set the coffee cup down onto the faded black wooden table in front of me. There are a couple moisture rings marring the table top. My knee brushes the side of the table as I turn on the couch towards the sound of coffee beans being freshly ground. The smell of coffee fills the air in the shop like a bittersweet cloud drifting across the sky. Bob Marley pounds out of the speakers along the wall. The barista is a friendly, pretty woman with blonde hair, and an anarchy symbol tattoo on her upper arm. I’ve been to the shop enough to know that her name is Connie. She smiles at the only customer, a snooty looking older woman that seems to not like anarchy symbol tattoos or the people that would have them. There are various baked goods on the counter, cookies that look like they taste fantastic and have a fantastic amount of calories to go with them, and cake slices with various frostings on top adorn the counter. A clear plastic rectangular tip-box with the word COFFEE NOW and several exclamation points sits on one of the packs of cookies, squishing them. It contains mostly crisp dollar bills and for some reason a piece of notebook paper with Mark and half of something that could be a phone number on it. There are various flavors of syrups used in coffee along the back wall. Each flavor is in a clear glass bottle topped with a white plastic pump. Facing the cash register is a counter with an assortment of cold drinks in electric mixing containers. Their contents swirl slowly, colored mostly egg white or chocolate brown. A big orange and black menu board hangs over the ordering area; it lists all the various drinks served. Hot drinks, cold drinks, and frozen drinks, mostly coffee, that are colored to go with whatever the current holiday season is. A pre-prepared food cooler is under the sign with croissant sandwiches of ham and turkey with tomatoes and wilted looking lettuce.  They look like oversized hockey pucks that are soaked in water then packed in plastic bags with plain black and white labels. A reach-in refrigerated box is in front of the cooler, it holds cold-canned fruit drinks with pictures of laughing adults and kids, clear cold water bottles with bright, attractive labels that shout the words vitamins and electrolytes at anyone that reads them. The corner furthest from the order area has a bulletin board attached to the wall with flyers announcing various events in the community pinned to it. There are double doors a few big steps away from the board. The large white and black lettered logo “Beans and Brews” has been etched into the top of the double-swinging glass doors. A few teenage kids with backpacks walk through the doors as if tired from a hard day at school and want a little caffeine to perk them up.

       Most of the teens look at the menu, then walk to the counter and give the barista their order. Some of the kids laugh as they talk, some are on cell phones. Connie seems to like the teens, as she does most people. Almost every hour of the day, people with books or laptops sit around tables or couches that are placed against the big picture windows. Some people, order in hand, stop at the sweetener kiosk to add various packets of sugar. One uses raw sugar like the kind that sinks to the bottom of my cup. The kiosk also has ice water and cream. I notice sweetener has been spilled onto the top of the kiosk like snow spreading across the road in winter. I walk to the kiosk, take a napkin from the top of the pile. I brush the drift of sweetener into the nearby garbage can, then toss the napkin in. I walk out of the door into the hot summer heat and drive away.