Leaving a hole in Andi’s heart was never part of his plan, he’d informed her. But the hole was still there and by golly, it hurt. Even months after, she was still hungover with emotional turmoil. Which is why she still can’t send him a text. And why she still runs from her mother’s questions. Why she couldn’t get herself to move on. “You were too good for him anyway,” people say. “These things always happen for a reason… it’s just how life goes.” But the truth is that being dumped is not life, it’s just watered down death.
Walking up to the counter, she brought out her wallet and was prepared to recite her regular order (caramel latte with almond milk), when the guy behind the register exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, Andi! How have you been? I haven’t seen you in so long, wow,” followed by a stupid grin and an awkward wave. Andi just blinked. She had no idea who this person was or how he knew her. There was this silence that followed, wherein he expected a reply, but she refused to fill it. After about 12 of the most uncomfortable seconds of Andi’s entire life, this dude (Finn, according to his name tag) was clearly not going to say anything to soften his outburst, so Andi did.
“I’d like to order if that’s okay.”
“Of course!” This dude looked way too excited about taking her order. “What would you like?” His grin was still plastered to his face, clearly unperturbed by her rebuttal to his inquiries.
“Can I have a caramel latte with almond milk, please?” Finally something normal. She was getting the cash ready, but Finn didn’t respond. “Um, is there a problem?” His expression was odd, almost like the face her mom gave her, sort of disapproving.
“Actually,” he began, wiping his hands on his spotless apron. “Can I interest you in a green tea latte today? It’s a 15% off deal, only this week. And I can make it with almond milk if you’d like.”
“No, actually, I just want my caramel latte.” Her temper was rising, and she didn’t have the will to fight it. “If you can’t get it for me, I’ll wait in line ’til someone else can get my order.”
“But see, the green tea is very healthy. It’s used to detox cleanse the body of toxins, and it’s so delicious!” His fervent expression told her he was a strong believer in this drink. But she just wanted her coffee so she could proceed to enjoy her very lonely Wednesday night.
“Look, I’m not interested, okay? Please,” she added like a desperate plea, ” just get my coffee.”
Hesitantly, he typed her order into the register and instead of saying the price she knew her drink would cost, he smiled sheepishly and whispered, “This one’s on me. No charge.”
And then the weirdo winked.
Andi was so mad, she didn’t even react. But her insides were churning and she came up with a thousand different ways she’d like to hurt this guy. Instead of saying anything that would disturb the friendly vibes of the shop, she stepped away from the counter and sat down at one of the tables to await her order.
Once again, she brought out her phone and opened the message app. She sighed in annoyance with herself, but still pressed the Particular Individual’s contact, rereading their previous conversation, wherein she made a complete pathetic mess out of herself and then became a witch. All the while the Particular Individual stayed calm and collected and tried to be patient, answering her as best he could, even though everything was still a complete mess and Andi didn’t understand anything more than she did when he first told her it was over.
Dragging a hand down her face, she pulled one leg up and leaned an elbow on her knee. No matter how many times she replayed every detail of every moment of their relationship, she couldn’t find any signs any hints that he might’ve dropped that meant he was unhappy with her, them. It was all so frustrating. And mind-boggling.
Typing out the same message as before, tbh i feel like im waiting for something that isn’t going to happen rn, she left her thumb hovering over the send button and released another breath.
Inhale. Exhale. Calm down.
“Here ya go, Andi!” shouted a voice right behind her. Or maybe it just seemed like it had been shouted. Either way, she was thrust back into reality with a jerk. Stuffing the phone away, she looked up to see Finn the Incompetent holding a steaming cup.
It was a flipping green tea latte.
Inhale. Exhale. CALM DOWN, ANDI.
“Excuse me, but I didn’t order that.” Of its own accord, her voice rose in both pitch and volume. “I specifically ordered a caramel latte with almond milk. Why is that so hard?!”
He nodded. He understood. But did he? “Yes, but you must try this green tea latte, I put almond milk in this one just for you!” He was so, so stupid.
“No thank you! I don’t want that, I want my order. If you won’t get it, then I’ll ask someone else who will.” She stood up, then faced him. “Actually, Finn, I’d like to speak to your manager.” Busted.
People were looking at both of them, some whispering behind their hands and others just shooting glances but straining to catch a few words from the heated discussion between employee and customer.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you see him at the moment.” He had set down the green tea and was wiping his hands on his apron again.
“And why not? I have a complaint that I’d like to report immediately.”
“Well, you can wait here, if you’d like, until he comes back.” He said this hesitantly.
“And when will that be?” she demanded.
“In about,” he glanced at his watch, “eighteen hours.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding me, I just wanted a caramel latte! Ugh!”
“Because you need to try this detoxing green tea! Please, if you try it then I will get your caramel latte, no cost.” He just wanted her to try it. At least. But why? Why was that so important to him?
“No! Oh my goodness, why are you so difficult?” In a heap of exasperation and annoyance, she flopped back into her chair. She saw her phone screen flash with a new message.
It was from the Particular Individual.
What. What. What. What. What.
She was actually going to scream.
Andi opened the message and almost dropped her phone. “Bloody elbow salad! What the flipping Buddha!” Without realizing it, her finger had pressed send on her last text, the text she didn’t actually plan on sending because that would lead to a universe of problems and stupidity she wasn’t yet ready for. But she had sent it.
Because of Finn and his stupid green tea latte.
A scream was building up in her throat and she knew she had to release it sometime. So, she threw her phone into her bag, glared at Finn one more time, then stomped out of Cuppa Manna and into her car, where she screamed bloody murder and all hellfire below.
She reread the message over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
What does he mean “what do you mean?” Bull-dung! He can’t play the ignorant doormat when he’s the World’s Biggest Douche. She couldn’t believe this was actually happening. Maybe she should just not respond, maybe even block him. Anything to make it seem like it had never happened.
Throwing her phone to the passenger seat, she covered her face with her hands. Why had she typed out that message at all? She was ready to start crying all over again when she heard a knock on her window. Looking up, and noticing the ever-spotless apron, and insufferable grin, she almost screamed again. She shook her head at Finn, her vision already blurry from unshed tears. He just gestured for her to come out. She yelled, “No!” And was about to turn on her car, when Finn showed her a cup, he said loud enough for her to hear through the window, “Caramel latte with almond milk.”
Now she was crying and laughing and groaning, sad, amused, and frustrated all at once. Stepping out of her car to retrieve her drink, Andi wiped the tears from her face and took the cup from Finn.
“So, uh, there ya go. Still on me, just so you know.” After she nodded and was about to step back in her car, he asked, “Life sucks doesn’t it?”
Sniffling and shrugging, Andi looked back at him. “More so today than in a while, yeah.” She eyed him, wondering at his purpose for asking. When he didn’t respond, she said, “Y’know it really sucks being dumped?” He nodded knowingly. “And then, months after, all I want is for him to come back and have a coffee with me, but I get greeted by some stranger who knows my name and then that person deny me my order… and then I accidentally send a message to my ex when I haven’t spoken to him since he dumped me, and he responded with the stupidest question and yeah life really does suck today. Thanks for asking.”
There was a silence that followed, that honestly wasn’t as awkward as the other awkward silence, but at least anger had blood rushing through her skull and she could focus on that instead of trying to fill the quiet.
When Finn finally spoke, his voice was gentle, his expression empathetic. “Yeah, it does. I know you’re hurting right now, but can I say something?” When Andi nodded, sort of reluctantly, he continued. “That guy doesn’t have the power to make you happy or sad, he can’t control that or your emotions. There is so much love still in your life, but it’s your choice to either choose that or to hold on to this guy who obviously doesn’t give a poop that he’s hurt you, and that’s not your fault, that’s his.” Andi furrowed her brows and looked thoughtfully at her shoes. “That guy was just a guy. They’re gonna be ruled by their emotions and their feelings because he’s just human. So you shouldn’t put so much weight into what he does or says to you because, in the end, he is just a human and if your happiness depends on his mood than your life is gonna be a huge turbulent storm. Humans aren’t steady or always reliable, no matter how much we want them to be. When you love someone, you’re saying their feelings, their lives, their hearts are more important than your own. It’s not easy, and that’s why guys and girls find it hard. We want things easy, but the fact is it’s just not.” He stopped and tried to read Andi’s expression, but she still had the same troubled expression as her gaze poured onto her shoes still.
“So… how can I be happy again?” she asked hesitantly. Finally, she looked up and met Finn’s eyes, truly asking.
“I don’t want to sound preachy, so don’t laugh at me. But happiness is found when you are at peace with yourself and with others, and you can only truly be at peace when you give your life and your heart and your needs to Jesus because he is the only one that can fill us until we don’t want for anything. He’s like the ultimate friend. Even when other people, friends, family, partners, are being jerks due to their human nature, he is the only one that will never fail us, he will always go above and beyond our expectations. So um… there’s that.” He was shifting from foot to foot.
She was nodding thoughtfully, not meeting his eyes. “Anyways,” he said sort of suddenly, “that’s just my two cents, you can just take it or leave it I guess.”
“Actually, thank you so much. For listening, and for the advice. It… it helps a lot. Really.” She attempted a wobbly smile, and the grin appeared on Finn’s face again. “That was the first time I really got to vent about things. It’s kind of been weighing on me for a while. So thanks for listening.”
“No problem. It helps to get things out, and sometimes you just need an incentive to help the process.”
“Like green tea… for cleansing.” A half laugh from Andi, but a full-on, beaming smile from Finn.
“Well, I should go, it’s getting late. Thanks again… for both ruining my night and fixing it.” Then her expression fell and she groaned. “Oh shoot… but what should I tell him?”
“Well, you can start by just being honest. Get it out, let him know your thoughts. He may be trying to understand things in his own way, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to see things from your side.”
“Can I just keep you? Like, can you just be my little pocket-sized fairy godmother?” she chuckled as she stepped into her car. “I could really use your wise input in my life. Could save me from making stupid decisions and poo.”
Shrugging it off, he just responded with, “I think you’ll find that sometimes life just drops certain fairy godmothers and fathers as they’re needed.” Then his grin, and he added, “But you know, I work here every other Wednesday night, and if you ever need to vent or you need some wise fairy godmother counseling, I’m all ears.”
“Well, seeing as I come here every Wednesday, I guess I’ll be seeing you around.”
“Maybe next time I’ll get you to try the green tea latte.” His grin was shining.
Before shutting the door, she said, “Ha. Fat chance. Till next time, my fairy godmother.”
“See ya, Andi.”
“Whoa, wait, how did you know my name? I don’t remember telling you. You mentioned knowing me… but I have no idea who you are.”
There was a twinkle in his eye when he said, “You probably don’t remember, but there was another time you needed some advice, and to be honest, I looked really different back then.” Then he was walking away.
She huffed once more, then shut the door, leaving her in the silence of her car. When she looked down, she found her caramel latte with a note on the top:
I hope you find how much life doesn’t suck. It’s hard now, but it’s just the growing pains of change… stay strong. This Particular Individual isn’t as important as he thinks he is, but he is playing a big part in you figuring out the magic of life. Just remember, you have people (and now a fairy godmother) to talk to. Till next time,
P.S. Sorry I gave you such a hard time. I was just so excited to see you again and honestly, I was kind of nervous. But anyways, enjoy your very caramel-y almond milk latte– but I swear, I will get you to try the green tea latte eventually.
Shaking her head lightly, she found herself grinning almost as ridiculously as Finn. Then she got out her phone from her bag, opened the message again, and took a deep breath. But before writing anything, she thought of what Finn said about Jesus. She thought of that long and hard.
And in the end, and after a few tears, she let go. She let go of her pain, of her dreams, of her heart and gave them to Jesus. A burden was lifted from her shoulders, and she cried a few more tears as huge chunks of brokenness shed from her heart, filling with an indescribable peace. Not wanting to wait any longer, she took a shaky breath, no longer anxious but at rest, at last, she finally typed out a long message to the Particular Individual, hoping, praying, it would lead them both to heal whether that be found in a friendship or their separate ways.
i guess what i’m tryna say is that im sorry things ended and ive been finding myself having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it’s over…
She cried some more, fat tears. She backspaced almost more than she typed, but in the end, she knew what she said was right. And without hesitation, she sent it. Taking a sip from her latte, she smiled to herself and drove home to her questioning mother and memories that served as a reminder that yeah, life sucks sometimes. But with the events of the evening, they also reminded her that life doesn’t stop when it sucks. It sucks, but the few things that bring people down are nothing compared to all the amazing people, places, and moments that bring us happiness in this life. There’s a God who is more reliable than any feeling, and there are friendships that he provides to make up for douchey Individuals. Oh, yeah, and there’s a whole lot of magic in life too.
Sometimes you just need a little catalyst to begin the healing process, something to detox your system from the toxins of life; sometimes you just want a caramel latte, but sometimes what you really need is a green tea latte.