Friday, October 5, 2012

Italian Espresso (A Tale Over Coffee) - Milan, Italy

Caffè corretto, please.”
Our eyes met and there was a hitch in time, a small frozen moment. She collected herself and repeated, “Caffè corretto?”
 “Anything more?”
“Seltzer water, bit of lemon.”
There was a shy and sly look to her. She smiled as the machine rumbled and frothed and produced thick, black coffee in the smallest of cups. Brandy Nazionale was splashed on top. I looked straight at her. She was tall, sandaled feet, impossibly long legs and a white blouse that frilled at her breasts. She was aware of my gaze and looked at me askance as she worked. She then placed everything on the counter in front of me.
“Your name?” I asked.
“Gio, please, have dinner with me tonight.” Another smile this time full.
With a shake of the head her green eyes continued to sparkle.
“No, I must dine with my mother tonight." She paused giving a coquettish smile and with a nod she said, “But I could meet you later.”
“There is a classic place in the center called Bar Magenta, do you know it?”
“Yes, for Negroni cocktails.”
“I’ll be there at nine.”
Still smiling she turned to take the order of newly arrived customers in the bustle of the café opposite the Milan Central Station. I moved to the cash register to pay the matron sporting half-moon glasses strung on a beaded holder.
“You’re something special, huh.”
No question implied; none answered.
“Gio never leaves with customers. Besides I don’t like it.”
*#!*@+!!, a searing torrent of Italian erupted between the two women accented with hand gestures and finished with the boom, boom of Gio knocking out the espresso machine handle clearing it of spent coffee grounds. The older woman fell silent.
“Just pay my mother and I’ll see you later.” Gio said with irritation still in her voice. In the noise I left more than enough to cover the bill on the clean, cold marble counter. Lifting a hand to wave goodbye I turned on my heel. “Until later then.”
“Hey, what’s your name?” She called.
 I smiled big moving toward the door.
“That I share with you at nine. Ciao, Gio!”
“Ayyyy, wait!”
The door shut slowly behind me…

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2012. All Rights Reserved.
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