Monday, February 18, 2013


James marveled at the spiral swirl in his coffee cup. He’d added the sugar and cream and had stirred it vigorously as his boss described the weeks coming agenda. He was only paying half attention to his yammering boss, who said the same boring thing every Monday morning. The spinning mixture of cream, sugar and coffee in his mug was far more entertaining. It made him think about the bigger picture.

            He knew the bigger picture of the universe in his mug was pretty cliché. The galaxies spinning out there in the vast blackness of space and how he was just a very tiny part of it all was an idea oft repeated by philosophers and poets. He thought he was very much like a grain of sugar against the enormity of the cosmos. He felt very small and insignificant and maybe those poets and philosophers were right. His boss continued to drone on about the upcoming quarterly reports and how important it was to make sure the F-32, part B section 108, forms were completed and filed with corporate before the issuance of Standard coding number 87, section D through D-1 asterisk.  James took a sip of his celestial coffee.

            The coffee wasn’t great. It was pretty normal stuff for a big office. He wished he was closer to a chain coffee place or even a diner that made fresh coffee. His coffee was sprinkled with enough sugar to cause diabetes and cream to make it taste like a French villa, still it couldn’t cover up the wet gym sock flavoring or whatever this “Morning Blend” was. All he could do was choke it down and ponder his place in the universe in its spinning whirls.

            The morning meeting finally ended and his co-worker Mandy nudged him in the ribs. She looked at him with one adorable eyebrow raised.

“Where are you Jimmy”, she asked, “Helloooo, Earth to Jimmy”.

            James hated being called Jimmy, but he made an exception for the beautiful Mandy. She was the reason he started working for this faceless corporation in the first place. They had met in the lobby on interview day. She was the receptionist then and they got to talking while he was waiting to get called in. He hadn’t planned on working very hard to get this office job, but after seeing her smile and hearing her voice and getting completely lost in her green eyes, he knew he would do anything to work around her. She was the face that launched his current career path.

“I was just wondering about my place in the coffee universe”, said James.
“Just another spoonful of mediocrity”, said Mandy.
“I guess”.
“Well, don’t be so glum chum. I’ve got a surprise for you”, said Mandy.

            James stopped near his cubicle entrance and turned to look at Mandy. She had a devious grin on her face. A face James longed to see every morning of his life, every time he opened his eyes in the morning he wanted to see her in bed next to him. That devilish grin made him nervous and excited.

“We’re going to lunch today still right”, asked Mandy.
“Absolutely. It’s the best part of my day”, said James.
“Excellent. I can’t wait to tell you”.

            Mandy lingered at James’ cubicle entrance for a second and after the last of the meeting stragglers had passed and no one was around, she reached out and grabbed James’ hand in hers and gave it a little squeeze. James’ heart stopped. She let go and smiled and turned to get back to the reception desk.

“11:30 okay for lunch then”, she asked.
“That’ll be perfect”.

            James sat down at his nondescript desk and smiled. The size of the cosmos and his place in its vastness suddenly didn’t matter at all. Mandy had squeezed his hand and he knew he’d never feel alone and adrift through the murky coffee universe again.

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