It was the dead of winter and the frost was creeping into everyone. During winter people started to change, they pulled into themselves becoming cold and mean to each other. Though, that might just be the people I work with. I was the only man that worked as a hospice nurse in my specific hospital. The women I worked with only seemed kind to the patients and the people close to them. They rarely talked to each other or me. In fact, I think most of them disliked me because most of the families asked for my services. There was nothing to do about people liking me more than them.
Trudging through the snow I figured I should slip into a store to wait for the bus. Seeing a small coffee shop right next to the bus stop I decided to go in there, get a hot drink, and relax before the bus came to take me to home. Slipping in though the door a small bell chimed softly as warmth and a strong smell of coffee engulfed me. Looking around this new place I saw it was a cozy family owned cafe. Only the barista and I were in the small space. Walking up to the counter I started to see more of the girl behind the counter. She was a wisp of a girl and had her short platinum hair pulled in to tiny pig-tales. She was softly singing to the song playing over the speakers and dancing, seeing this pulled the corners of my lips into a smile. It was rare for me to see anyone look so carefree and full of life, because of my job. The girl probably didn't know I was here yet, not wanting to ruin her fun I cleared my throat softly, "Hello."
Next thing I know I am looking down into the soft steel gray eyes of the girl, she barely came up to my collar bone. Something about this girl took my breath away. The feeling I was getting from her was amazing. Everything about her was bubbly and full of life. Her voice was warm, pleasant, soft and had a singsong quality to it, "Hi, my names Kiki, what can I do for you?" I just couldn't help but to smile more at this girl.
I hadn't realized that I didn't responded to Kiki in a while until I noticed her blink. "Sorry," I shook my head slightly and looked at the drinks they had, their was so many cute pictures drawn around the names of the drinks. I wondered if she drew them. That was when I noticed there was a big pink heart next to one drink, "I would like a chai tea latte." As soon as the words passed my lips I could see her eyes brighten more, and her body language changed making her look like she was going to burst with joy.
With a small squeal sound Kiki started to ring up my order trying to compose herself, "That's my signature drink. What name should I make the order out too?" I glanced around the room, this girl had to be joking with me, there was no one else here. "Nicholas... But I go by Nick," there was a slight waver to my voice, I was getting nervous around this girl and I think she knew it. Kiki softened the eccentric look on her face along with her voice, "I knew there would be a perfect name to match those handsome green eyes." I could feel heat flush to my cheeks and chest tighten just enough to where breathing was difficult. Quickly I looked down at my worn-out, brown, work bag and pulled out my money to give to her. I was so grateful when I realized that Kiki was focusing her attention to the cup in her hand. She was scribbling something on the cup, while sticking her tongue out ever so slightly, when she was done she looked back up at eyes. "In case I can't find you when I finish your drink can I have your number so I can tell you it's ready?" Kiki's voice was sincere and had an adorable flirty edge to it.
I answered her question by handing her one of my business cards, "You can also email me if I don't answer my phone." Her tiny hand touched my large one and I knew she felt the same spark I did. It took both of us a few seconds to move our hands away from each others. Her gray eyes sparkled up into mine, "Thank you. I don't want you to forget it here." Kiki then floated over to the area where the baristas make the drinks. Each one of her movements was smooth and just flowed into the next one. Even though she had a body that wasn't considered beautiful to todays standards I thought that she redefined beauty. She knew how to move to make her almost nonexistent hips stand out, and it didn't matter that she still had a "preteen" body. The way she head herself she just glowed self-confidence and in my eyes that was beauty and perfection. Putting a hand to the back of my neck I knew I couldn't stand here and watch her. Casting my eyes downward I walked over to a grouping of chairs, set my work bag down, and sat in the chair closest to the cozy little fire place. Glancing up at the clock that was hanging on the wall I had almost twenty minutes before the bus arrived.
That's when I started to let my mind relax and wander into thoughts. All I could hear was the crackling of the wood fire, the sounds of my latte being made, and soft music that was coming from the radio that Kiki was humming to. Suddenly Kiki, that quirky girl, was all my mind would focus on. Her bubbly-ness, the light in her unique gray eyes, the touch of our hands, the spark. Something about the spark I felt with her made me realize I was half empty, I need her in my life to feel fully complete. I didn't understand what this feeling was, I had never felt like this before. I looked up at the window to watch the snow fall and saw Kiki's reflection. As I watched her I could feel a smile spread across my face and a warm feeling in my heart.
"Nick! Nick! You have to see this!" I turned around to look at her wondering what she was talking. She was looking excited and was waving her arms trying to get me to hurry. I got up leaving, my things where they were, to quickly walk over to her. "I have always wanted to do this! I have been trying to get it right and it's finally perfect!" When I got close enough she looked into the cup of steaming chi and excitedly motioned for me to do the same. I had no idea what she was talking about so I looked into the drink and saw it. There was a perfectly formed heart in the foam of the drink. She was so enthusiastic about a silly little foam heart, jumping around and giggling. If she was anyone else I would have just laughed at them and taken my drink, but her childish excitement was contagious. "That's amazing Kiki. I'm so happy you could accomplish this goal," I sounded so rigid compared to her. Trying to loosen up a little I took a picture of the little heart with my phone, "This way I can prove that it can be done." I thought she was going to explode when I said that, she made a strange high picked sound and looked like she wanted to tackle me. "Thank you Nick! That's such a great idea!" She pulled out her own phone and did the same thing.
Looking at the picture on her phone relishing her accomplishment she sighed, put her phone away and put the lid on the drink. "Here, it's made with love. Literally," Kiki picked up the drink and handed it to me. When I took the piping hot drink from her, I noticed that her gray eyes were glittering with something I recognized, the feeling that the spark was back. This time I knew for sure we both felt it. "Thank you Kiki, meeting you and getting a drink this special just made my day," I kept my voice soft and what I said was partly true. She did much more than making my day wonderful.
I just happened to glance at the time, "I'm sorry to do this but my bus should be here any moment." I could have sworn I saw some of the light leave Kiki's eyes when I said that. "I will come back, and you can text me if you feel like it," right after I mentioned that she could contact me the light came back to her eyes. "I will do that Nick," her smile was magical and made my heart skip a beat.
"I can't wait to see you again Kiki," I said glancing up at her from my drink to see her smile again. Seeing the bus at the red light I knew I didn't have much time I started to gather my things. Right before I left the cozy little coffee shop I got one last look at the girl who had captured my heart.
Sliding into a cold window seat on the almost empty bus, I watched as the little cafe got further and further away. Once it was fully out of sight I slumped into my seat watching the snow slowly start pile up on the road and sidewalks. I could feel the cold of winter seep through My jacket piercing my heart. I had no idea if I would see Kiki again, or hear from her again. Sighing I looked down at my gloved hands and saw what Kiki did with my name on my drink.
It was in that moment the coldness that was filling his heart turned to warmth again. Kiki had put a heart for the I in my name, I didn't know if she did that for everyone, it gave me a sense that I would see her again. It was in that same moment that I knew I loved her.