Bruised Black Coffee | Teen Ink

Bruised Black Coffee

March 17, 2015
By xWritingWonderlandx PLATINUM, Ormond Beach, Florida
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xWritingWonderlandx PLATINUM, Ormond Beach, Florida
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Favorite Quote:
"The past can hurt but the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it" -The Lion King

"To live would be an awfully big adventure!" -Peter Pan

"Without pain how could we know joy?" -The Fault in our Stars

"I will never fit in because i was not ment to" -Cher Lloyd

"I can't go back go to yesterday because I was a different person than" -Alice in Wonderland

The world around me was flooded with loneliness as I sat in the back booth of The Social Butterfly café. I was curled up in the soft material of my sweater and my head was rested against the shop’s window. I just sat, consumed in my own thoughts, and watched the rain spew from the clouds above, engulfing the streets in a veil of gray water. The world beyond the shop’s window was a distorted image of reality as rain trailed down its glass face like melted silver. Cars flew down the streets in a blur under the hazy fixture of the street lights, and flushed folk ran down the sidewalks, their umbrellas dancing behind their backs as they seek shelter.
The rain had been drowning the world with its sorrows for about an hour now. Softball practice had been cancelled, so I decided to spend the remainder of my afternoon belled up at The Social Butterfly. I had nowhere else I needed to be, and this dumpy café on the rough side of town had become my security blanket. I could just fall into a ripped red and white stripped booth all day, and space out into my own thoughts with a cup of black coffee staring me down in the face, and no one would judge me.
Most people would curse a day like today. They would wish the sun would replace the overcast morose sky, and ask the rain to vacate to another town, so they didn’t have to slosh though mercury puddles all day. I didn’t mind the rain though. I’d hope it would carry on like days like today, so I wouldn’t have to worry about beating perfection at on the softball diamond or going home to a lavish mansion that housed parents that really couldn’t care less. On rainy days like today I didn’t have to contemplate the metaphor of life, worry about how many calories I was consuming, or carry on bullshit conversations with incoherent people. I’d leave every one of my troubles behind to get wet in the rain as I sat in this ‘worry free’ coffee shop and let time run away.
I took a sip of my coffee and I let it burn down my throat, hot. I glanced around at the Social Butterfly’s soft yellow exterior and cozened up to it. I breathed in the aroma cinnamon rolls and poppy seed muffins, and paid attention to the banging of pots and pans in the kitchen, and the owner’s voice, as she sang above the sound of the rain while keeling dough for her pastries.
The owners of the shop were a husband and wife, ex hippies that were molded by the 70’s influence. They built the coffee shop under their apartment when they were fresh out of high school, and the store blew to astronomical proportions as the years ticked by. The shop was family owned and operated. Thus, the owners took care of all the cooking and baking while their daughters waited on tables, wiped down countertops, and manned the cash register. One of the daughters, Lacey, happened to be an old friend of mine, but she was not working today. She was probably cooped up in the apartment upstairs listening to indie music while she plugged away at her homework. Her younger sister, Jessamine, however was hunched behind cash register at the moment, with boredom written across her face. She had her phone out and was texting rapidly under the counter. My guess she was talking to her boyfriend
I sighed, wishing I had a love life, as my figures flew to my ceramic coffee cup. I press my mouth to it, draining the rest of my coffee dry before I placed it back on the saucer with a tiny clang. Jessamine, hearing my finish, tucked her phone into the pocket on her sunflower apron and glided over to me. She quickly filled my cup up and shot me a glare before she reattached back to the counter and pulled out her phone once again.
That’s when I turned my attention back to the window, but this time instead of seeing a vacant street, I saw an outline of a figure. I leaned closer to the glass until my nose touched the wet flat surface and saw a person sitting on a bench on the other side of the street. Even from here I could tell he was shaking. He was only wearing thin white t-shirt and a frayed pair of jeans that were worn and ripped open at the knee. His blonde hair lay flat against his scalp and his knees were pulled up to his chest in a feeble attempt to keep warm.
I recognized this boy. I had seen him lumber down the halls at school and sit alone at lunch with no food to satisfy his hunger. I did not know his name, but I knew the nasty things my peers called him; homo, homeless, freak, lunatic, and unstable. I knew the names bothered him. I saw the way he clenched his fists when the malicious names reached his ears. He would always try to swallow them, no matter how bitter they tasted, but I had seen him snap before. I have watched the fights he has started in the halls and the time he gave Brett Parker, captain of the wrestling team, a tizzy when he smashed his nose in with his fist.
Every time this mysterious blonde boy would get in a fight he would get suspended and saunter out the school’s heavy doors, unscratched.  Granted, when his suspension ended and he came back to school, his whole body would be painted black and blue. His eyes would be black. His nose would be crusted with dry blood. His lip would be split. His arms marinated with scarlet fingernail scratches and bruises in the shape of handprints. He would walk with a limp, his back leg scrapping the ground, dead and weightless, and his eyes would be wet because he could not stand the unbearable pain of breathing and walking. No one took notice or tried to stop these after school beatings from occurring. The teachers and administrators at school did not care because these beatings did not happen on campus. They also thought this boy deserved what he was getting. They assumed he was out of the streets, busting open gang fights with confidence washing all sense of danger from his body. All in all, the teachers did not care that the boy had no money to pay for lunch, or that he was bulled at school. Nobody cared about this kaput individual who was coated in broken glass, and whose ashen skin had turned purple and black like a piece of expired fruit over night.
Incidentally, I was just as fault. I had stood aside and keep my head down when he trekked passed me because I believed I could not make difference. I was a small girl barley breaking five foot that’s only talent was that I could hit a softball over a small chained linked fence. This boy probably would not want my help anyway. I was weak with no defense to keep my rooted. If someone wanted to pick a fight with me they would run me over with their gas powered fists until I saw stars.
I found myself watching the boy for a while, and surprisingly after a few moments I saw him unfasten himself from the bench’s embrace. He stood up quickly, wiped his brow, shoved his hands into his pockets and jogged across the street. The rain buried him in water as he ran but he kept his head high and his gaze sharp as he avoided the occasional vehicle. What astounded me was the fact that the boys sight was locked in on The Social Butterfly. Out of all the shops that crowed this small street he picked this one.
“Please tell me he is not coming in here,” Jessamine proclaimed from behind the counter as the boys steps became fewer towards the shop. “Please tell me he is not coming in here.”
“Do you know him?” I asked Jessamine as I turned to see that her face was drained of color and he brown eyes were as big as saucers.
“Of course I know him,” Jessamine snapped at me. “Who does not know Dean Ransom?”
I opened my mouth to ask another question but a figure darted by the window in a colorful burp, and before I knew it, the boy, Dean Ransom was standing in the café’s wide doorway.
Dean’s whole body was swashed with rain and he was dripping all over the café’s polished checkered tile floor. Just looking at the poor raggedy seventeen year old made by body shake. He looked like he had just emerged from swimming in the jagged current of the white Arctic Ocean. His lips were smeared blue by the cold’s chilling kiss and frost seemed to be clinging to his long eyelashes. His hands were still hugging his white shirt, which was had turned see-through, giving me a clear view of the boy’s firm chest. What was even more obvious beside Dean being eaten alive by hypothermia was the fact that he looked like he had just been in a car accident. A lilac bruise swallowed his left eyes and a serrated cut stretched down the side of his cheek that looked like it was probably created by a broken bottle.
Dean did not waste time lounging at the front of the shop though. He scurried over to the counter and in his wake he left muddy footprints across the tile floor’s face.
“Hi,” was all Dean said at first, and I was shocked how deep his voice was. “Can I please have a cup of coffee?”
Jessamine did not say anything at first. Her lips seemed to be sewn shut with fright, but after a moment of staring up at Dean, she seemed to get a tiny shot of confidence.
“Why should I serve you after you carried a ton of mud into my shop?”
Dean opened his mouth lost for words before he turned around to see the muddy foot prints that now dirtied the café’s floor.
“I’m sorry,” he said hoarsely, scratching the back of his neck. “Um…would you like me to mop it up or something?”
Jessamine cursed under her breath and shot Dean daggers before telling him she would get someone to clear up the mess later. Jessamine then retreated to the coffee machine and started working on Dean’s order. Dean, on the other hand, just stood soaked to the bone in front of the counter. He was shaking slightly, but you could tell that he was warming up. A tinge of pink was starting to blossom across his pasty cheeks and his lip were now a whitish pink instead of a frosty blue.
Once Jessamine had finished preparing Dean’s cup of coffee and sat it down on the counter in front of him, I felt like I could breathe a little. He was going to get warm and have something in his stomach before he got tossed back out into the vexation of the real world, where he could possible finds himself throw into another tasteless brawl; one he could lose.
“That is going to be 2.50$ for the coffee. If you want unlimited refills it is going to be 3.50$.” Jessamine finally let forth, venom laced in her voice
However, when Jessamine told Dean the price, the small smile that once littered his lips had been transformed into a grimace. He bit his lip, sunk his hands into the front pocket of his sodden jeans, and pulled out handful of miscellaneous objects and set them on the smooth countertop, which included: a dollar bill, a couple of pennies and dimes, empty gum wrappers, a small pocket knife, a bus token, a couple of crumpled up cigarettes, a pack of skittles, a ripped piece of notebook paper, a tiny chewed up pencil with no eraser, and brass knuckles.
I could hear Dean shifting though his mini mountain counting his coins trying to get to 3.50$. The whole time he was doing this I could see steam pouring out of Jessamine’s ear. Her fear of the tall 5,9 fighter had quickly evaporated into annoyance and anger. She was bitter every time I came in here without my credit card and had to count my change, now she had to deal with a boy that was cluttering up her counter with his grubby trinkets. 
“Forty five, Fifty, Fifty-Five, Sixty…I have a buck sixty. Do you serve anything that cheap?” Dean asked, hoping the answer was yes. Yet, when Jessamine said no with zero remorse in her voice, Dean’s whole face deflated. Jessamine had just terminated his last hope of getting something to eat and having a warm place to snuggle into without having to venture back into the rain’s foggy atmosphere. He would probably have to go home (if he even had one) or find some bridge to huddle under until the sun face was visible yet again in the April sky.
I, on the other hand, was not going to stand by again and watch Dean get hit in the face by society once again. 
While Dean was shoving everything back into his pocket, a frown darkening his face, I had slid out of my booth and walked over to the counter. I stood next to the wet taller boy and trawled my wallet from my pocket.
“Put the coffee on my card and get him a piece of that famous chocolate cake,” I said feeling Dean’s hot gaze burn the hairs off skin.
“Please put your money away,” I told Dean as I looked up to met his stunning baby blue eyes. “I got it.”
“I can pay for my own coffee,” he exclaimed, his voice turning icy “I do not need your pity.”
“No you cannot pay for your own coffee,” I said, hands on my hips, “You proven that to be false, and I do not pity you I am just helping you out. That’s what friends do.”
“I’m not your friend,” Dean alleged roughly, not use to someone offering to help him out of the kindness of their heart. “I do not even know your name.”
“Its Yvonne Gallagher,” I reveled. “And when Jessamine gets your coffee and cake you can come over and join me in my favorite booth. That is the least you can do for the girl that just paid for your dinner,”
Dean just stared at me after that. His voice a frozen block of ice because he did not know what to say to me without sounding soft or sincere. He wanted to play this tough guy façade up so he did not have to tear down his protective wall that secured his deeper emotions. Nonetheless, the look that now touched his face showed me everything I truly needed to know about Dean Ransom. He was broken; a Greek sculptor that had lost both of his arms in the fiery explosion of Pompeii. He had no parents to coddle him growing up and to nurse him with bed time stories, butterfly kisses, and warm glasses of milk.
All his life people had told Dean who he was. He was ensnarled by the grotesque names that made rope burns on his arms. He was outlined by the reputation of his parents, and when he tried to fight them, no matter how strong they were, he was always knocked on his back and would have to struggle to get back on his feet, at the price of just getting strangled to the ground all over again.
Dean and I were not too far away from each other. We each carried scars on our skin. Scars that were permanent and could only fade as time ran away with us. We both had parents that turned a blind eye when it came to their children, and we were contently carrying baggage that only weighted us down.
I had never spoken to Dean Ransom until today but I already knew who he was. He was a person full of wounds that had found a way to keep fighting so he could stand on his feet. He was a bruised cup of black coffee that only a couple ballsy people had the gut to drink.
Dean sat with me, soundless, and drank his black coffee and devoured his cake. When he was finished we just gazed out the window and watched the rain cover our town with vengeance. Dark clouds still hovered in the sky, bruised, fat and quaking as rain spewed from its dark core. Yet, the storm did not stop Dean Ransom from leaving me.
We had sat together for over an hour and within this time a mother and her little girl now occupied the shop and Lacy now hugged the cash register instead of Jessamine.
Before Dean left he pulled that little piece of paper and pencil out of his pocket and wrote some on the paper’s blank surface. He handed it to me, his soft blues eyes overflowing with gratitude, before he stood up and limped out the Social Butterfly’s door.
“Was that Dean Ransom you were sitting with Yvonne?” Lacy asked later when she came around to refill my coffee cup.
I did not answer her right away though. I had just opened the small piece of paper Dean gave me, and inside in horrible penmanship was a sentence that stopped the wrecking ball storm that raged outside.
Thank you for your kindness Yvonne. You are the light that stopped my storm today.
“Yes Lacey,” I finally said. “It was.”
“Why was he sitting with you?” she asked frowning.
“Because he was cold…Dean was just cold.”   

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