By: Rex

As if two twins separated at birth...
CAFFEINE
& ROMANCE
Her name was Alicia and she worked at a tiny coffee shop two blocks away from my home. She had been to my place (where I ran a little punk-shop) a couple of times and had seen my band play and liked us, so it only made sense that she would be inclined to give me some free coffee once in a while, right? [Why am I asking you?! Of course I'm right!] Anyway, she was very pretty and had a sweet, goofy voice that only added to her appeal. She rented a room in her parent's house in the low-income part of town and I lived in a 300sq. ft. office space on the third floor of a stuffy building with no ventilation. Each morning I'd roll off my couch, click on the light, and try to get cleaned up enough to face the world for my morning caffeine and testosterone injection (Just kidding, I didn't inject testosterone into anything). Then, I'd hop on my bike in the summer, and slip on my leather jacket in the winter and braved whatever Jack Frost had to throw at me. It could have been 30 below 0 and I would have gone there (and a few times it was!).
Out my door, down the hall, three flights of stairs and out the back door. Across the parking lot, past the Performing Arts Center and City Hall. Three blocks south and around the corner to where the ATM machine used to be and I was there. Usually, the first thing I saw would be her on the phone, then she'd intuitively glance over her shoulder at me, say a few words to her friend and hang up. It was only about 50 ft. from the corner to the front door, but by the time I got the door open, the espresso machine was already pissing out foamy brown coffee-love meant specifically for me. Usually I could manage to say something to the effect of "Hey, how's it going?" but by the time I got the last word out, I was being handed my cup and one of her smokes so we could stand outside and talk. After an hour of conversation I would decide it was time to head back and open shop. She always seem depressed to see me go.
Over time Alicia and I became pretty good friends. She started coming by my place after closing and hanging out. I'd play her the new music I recorded that week and we'd talk about what we wanted to do with our lives. She was inspiring, she was a positive energy to counterbalance my negative existence, she was great. Eventually came that moment that was inevitable I guess... As much as we'd all like to think that males and females can be friends without any expectations from each other, I think we have to accept that this isn't entirely true. If you take two single people that are looking for something that just so happens to be what each other can provide, try to make them friends with each other then let them spend a night in a room with nothing to do, by morning you're probably gonna have two people acting differently toward each other and a room that smells funny.
At the time I didn't have a car, so whenever we went out somewhere, she would be the one driving. We'd often end up back at her place where she had a land-camera. We took pictures of each other wearing weird costumes then we had a few laughs as the film developed it's self. I'd eat her food, drink her beer, and avoid her drunk step dad who always wanted to talk to me about his cover-band. In the end, after her coffee shop moved across town, we started seeing less and less of each other. Not long after that, I'd only see her around maybe once every couple of weeks. We'd still be happy to see each other, but we no longer made plans to meet up later. Strange how that happens. In some ways I miss her. In other ways, I'm glad we never really got serious about our relationship and maintained a friendship that lasts to this day. There's nothing to look forward to when it comes to breaking up with a girlfriend, and I'm lucky that I didn't have to deal with that. Okay, so I didn't have sex with her or anything, but we definitely had our nights of passion. Wait, you probably don't want to hear this... Sorry!
Anyway, when ever I think back to the year I lived in that miserable 300 sq. ft. room without a view, I usually think about Alicia and how she helped it all make sense. The hazelnut-shooters, quad-mint-mochas, vanilla-lattes. Her smile, her voice, her body. They all live on vividly in my memory, and I doubt I'll ever get another mocha that will compare to her's.