Coffee Brown is one of the cutest establishments set along the Metropolitan seaface. It functions as a coffee shop by day and a tavern by twilight. The owner, Zack and his wife, Helen, make it a point to enlighten a chosen few of the secret about the place ? people who could do with a little metaphysical help. However, the legend of Coffee Brown only works for those who believe in its enchantment.
It all started one very cold rainy afternoon. A mother and her little daughter came into the almost empty shop for a creamy cup of steaming coffee. A short while after placing their order, the mother, to her horror, realized that she had lost her wallet. Little Nikita saw the distress on her mother’s face and enquired. On being enlightened of their predicament, the little girl told her mother to sip her coffee and ask the coffee man to help her out. Not knowing what else to do, Nikki’s mother decided to humour her daughter ? she did just as her daughter insisted, right down to the letter. Lifting the cup in her right hand, the mother took a generous sip and wished that they would escape the humiliation of being unable to pay for their order. Little Nikita jumped up with glee. Her eyes watched wondrously as the invisible wish wrapped itself around the steam and gently rose from around the edge of her mother’s mug. Her tiny eyes followed the smoke as it twirled and expanded right past the ceiling. Nikita then folded her arms and said with authoritative finality, “there, now the wishing is done?”. Five minutes later, the owner, Zack walked up. He smiled and wished the pair. Bending over, Zack handed over the small wallet that had been dropped accidentally by the entrance - he had identified the owners from a snap contained therein. Nikita squealed and shouted, “I told you?I told you?the coffee man would help you”. Zack was amazed to hear their tale. He asked them if they wished to hear the story of his life, for he now had one more confirmation of the magic of Coffee Brown.
At 18 years, Zack had run into bad times his father expired several years ago and his mother, hurt by a fall, now lay immobile in their small one-room apartment. The easiest and most immediate survival option available to Zack was to terminate his education and work as a waiter. He liked Coffee Brown, which was nereby ? Old-man Jervis had been very good to him, and he saw that Zack was sincere and hardworking.
Zack had the normal aspirations of a growing adult to be successful in a career or business and have a family. He would often muse on this, though he wondered how it could ever come to being, considering his limited capabilities and resources. Each evening, after his shift, he would bid Jervis goodbye, take a last deep breath of rich brew at the door and walk out. As he walked past groups of couples chatting and giggling in the outer extension of Coffee Brown, he often thought of how nice it would be have someone hold his hand, drink coffee with him and share the joys of a simple friendly conversation. Then one day, a little voice inside told him to make a wish. So he stopped walking, raised his arms outward and looked up to heaven. Zack wished for that special someone. Zack didn’t see a wish move out from his heart; Zack didn’t know that the rich brew floating around the place, cradled his wish and gently carried it into the confines of the coffee house; Zack didn’t know that the irreversible magic had begun to work.
Helen worked as a cashier at Coffee Brown. She was very ambitious and enterprising, so Jervis let her manage the show at most times. Helen wasn’t too fond of Zack; actually she was jealous that Zack, despite being just a non descrept waiter, occupied a special place in Jervis heart, a place she often thought should have been reserved for her. She had shown Jervis many-a-time that she was better than Zack, but the old man, in some sort of senile way, continued to make allowances for the boy instead. Anyway, she ?hoped her dream would one day come true, which was to inspire dreams of interest in a real business man, who would cruize by the establishment and wisk her away from the place forever; and someone who was capable of devoting his resources to pamper her every need. Dreams apart, now there was another thing on her mind Helen was troubled about the disappearance of a small quantity of snacks every day. At first, she attributed it to an accounting oversight. But over the last 2 days, she felt convinced that maybe Zack did some stealing. Helen would need proof before she approached Mr. Jervis - he had to know how resourceful she was. She decided to monitor Zack.
The next morning, unknown to Zack, Helen watched his every move like a predatory hawk. Zack signed in and initialised his workspace. After setting up everything and sweeping the outsides, he looked around to see if anyone was watching. Zack then quitely pocketed a chocolate bun from behind the counter. From a very different location, Helen whispered to herself, “Why, Zack, you little thief. Wait till Jervis learns of your thieving ways. He wont be so hot about you anymore”. Helen looked on as Zack picked up a newspaper and walked to the far end of the Coffee Brown compound. Zack looked right, left and then glanced anxiously at his wristwatch. Seeing no one in sight, he opened the bin. He quickly spread the newspaper and placed the bun on top. Closing the bin, Zack hurried back to the insides of Coffee Brown. Helen was puzzled she was more apt to accept that Zack would have stolen food for himself. Why did Zack waste food instead? Did he have a grudge on Jervis? As she kept pondering for a few minutes, a little ragged girl came scouting the bins for something to eat. Helen knew the family was facing tremendous hardship. She watched the little girl’s face brighten up on seeing the bun. She watched as the girl hungrily ate and skipped away. She also watched Zack peeping from his window to see that his day’s mission was complete. Only a person in hardship can truly comprehend similar hardship in others. As a little tear rolled down her cheek, Helen thought of Zack ? the waiter-boy with a big heart.
And she would have throughly blushed in embarrasment if she knew that Jervis had watched them both, just as he did Zack everyday. He was sure that Helen would not tattle on Zack. And in doing so, she would, from now on, occupy that special place in his heart too, just like his other children he gave special chances to. Being human is what Jervis termed it.
That evening, Zack stood by the door, ready to leave. As he inhaled the rich coffee brew, Helen walked over from behind and slipped her hand into his arm. Zack would have never been more surprised to learn that Helen wanted to walk him home. As time passed, their friendship grew. Together they worked hard and purchased the coffee shop from Jervis, who looked forward to a peaceful, retired life. Zack pulled out a family snap of Helen, him and their two kids. Helen had indeed got her business man who really took care of all her realistic needs.
Zack finished his story and politely took leave. The mother looked at her child ? they just couldn’t stop smiling at each other. The single mother wondered how she could have gone through life without little Nikki ? this child never ceased to amaze her. Well, this girl could also do with the love of a father. The mother called out to Zack and ordered another round of coffee. There was more wishing to be done.