"I can help the next person in line here" shouted the cashier. Erica walked up to the cashier, the cashier said - "Let me guess, you want a tall pike place roast coffee to go." Erica smiled and said "yes please". It was daily routine for her to visit the nearby coffee house, pick up her favorite coffee and walk to class. The baristas and the cashier at the coffee house knew her by now and expected her every morning on the weekdays at 8 am. She would be out with her coffee latest by 8.05 am. But today, she had to wait longer and she kept staring at the counter to see why she hadn't received her coffee yet. She did not see her usual barista handling the roasted coffee, but instead saw a new guy who seemed to be learning from the other experienced baristas.
Finally at 8.12 the new guy shouted - "tall pike place roast for Erica please." From behind the coffee roasting machines, the barista saw a young girl's beautiful face come closer to him. A few curls of her hair fell on her face, her beautiful green eyes were complimented by a radiant smile. It was the most beautiful smile he had ever seen that reflected in her eyes. She walked up to him and asked - "is this your first day today?". At a loss for words he replied - "No, I mean yes, is it your first day too?" She laughed and said "I come here every morning to get my coffee. Ok I got to run, late for my class". She picked her coffee and left. The barista kept looking at her till she walked outside the door and spent the whole day thinking about her. He eagerly kept waiting for the next morning.
"I can help the next person in line here" shouted the cashier. Erica ordered the usual and waited for her order. She glanced at the coffee roasting machine, the new barista was there. He was looking at her; their eyes met and Erica smiled. At 8.05, the barista shouted "tall pike place roast for Erica please." Erica walked up to him, tucked her curls behind her ear and said "Not bad, you seemed to have picked up really quick".
"Not really, I worked on your order first. I'm still picking up."
"Wouldn't your other customers be mad at you?"
"They might, but I didn't want you to be late to your class".
She smiled at him, picked her coffee and said "See you tomorrow."
"I can help the next person in line here" shouted the cashier. Erica ordered her usual and waited for her name to be called. At 8.01, the barista shouted "tall pike place roast for Erica please." Erica was surprised to hear her name so quick. She walked up to the counter, tucker her curls behind her ear and saw the barista smiling at her.
"I'm surprised that you made the coffee so quick today morning."
"Actually, I haven't made it yet. I wanted to ask you if you'd like some customizations to your regular order."
"Sure, what do you have."
"I wondered if you ever tried your coffee the Indian way."
"No I haven't, but tell me more."
"Roasted filter coffee, a little bit of cream, some sugar and milk."
"I think I could try that for today."
"If you don't like it, I'll make you your regular one"
Erica took a sip of the coffee and smiled. "This is really good. You should have this on the menu."
"I asked the manager to add it to the menu, but he did not like the idea. But if you want the same coffee tomorrow, ask for your usual coffee, but tell the cashier that you want Raj to make it for you."
Erica smiled and said "Thanks Raj, I will remember it."
"I can help the next person in line here" shouted the cashier. "A tall pike place roast ... made by Raj please." The cashier looked at her, then looked at Raj and saw the two of them looking at each other and smiling. Instead of waiting for her coffee as usual, she walked up to Raj.
"Good morning. How's your day?"
"A very good morning Erica. My day has just started."
Erica tucker her curls behind her ear and said "Oh, so you just came to work?"
"No I come to work at 6, but my day starts with your order."
For a moment, there was silence as the two looked into each others eyes. Erica broke the silence with her laugh and said "Will you be able to recreate yesterday's magic?"
"Certainly. I'm on it right now. I'm assuming you go to Cornell, since that's the only college in this college town. What do you study there?"
"You're right. I am in the Industrial and Labor Relations school and I'm in my junior year. What about you?"
"I am in my senior year in the College of Agriculture and Food Science. My classes start at 10.30, so I work here from 6 to 10."
"Wow that must be tough - waking up early, working here and making it to class."
"Not so much, if you're passionate about something. Here's your coffee. See you tomorrow?"
"Thanks Raj. Yes, I'll be here tomorrow."
The next day as Erica walked up to the coffee house, she saw Raj standing outside with two cups of coffee. She was surprised to see him there.
"I was wondering if I could walk with you to your school and we can enjoy some coffee and conversations."
Erica smiled at Raj, tucked her curls behind her ear and said "only if it is made the Raj way!"