A Change in Fortune – I
Ravi picked up the coffee mug and held it to his mouth. Steam condensed onto the tip of his nose and cheeks. He could feel the warmth. He had suffered many a burned tongue with those paper cups and their plastic lids, which concealed the temperature of their contents a little too well. Not this time. Ravi took a small sip from the ceramic mug and smiled.
Relief. Never mind the fact that he gave up a lucrative career in New York and moved across the country to be with his one true love. Never mind that his new job was entry-level, and he was a no-name. Never mind he had yet to find a decent apartment and was crashing on a friend’s couch. And never mind that he and his one true love had broken up three weeks after moving here, or that a week later, she took a job in New York and moved in with her lover Paco. Nevermind.
“Lithium” was playing through the cafe’s speaker system. With it’s mellow start, it almost seemed to fit the atmosphere of the place, its patrons lost in their own worlds. Then the chorus hit, and one of the patrons, who had been busily typing away on his laptop, let out a startled gasp. The barista took notice and quickly changed the song. She was new.
Ravi did feel relieved. Would he have changed any of his decisions? No. Not without altering his life in unforeseen ways. Not without erasing people and experiences he couldn’t part with. Not without providing him with a different set of regrets to deal with. Everything led up to this moment, and the coffee was great. No. It was fucking great.
Thought but not said. People stared on those rare occasions when Ravi said the F-word, but he didn’t know why. Maybe they thought it was an uncharacteristic word for him to say. Or maybe he was just pronouncing it incorrectly. Should he practice saying it more often? It might help.
His laptop let out a sound, and it was Ravi’s turn to be startled out of his daze. New message! He didn’t recognize the name, but from the e-mail address, the person was clearly another employee within the company. A work e-mail on the weekend. With his moment of peace interrupted, Ravi set down the mug and read the message:
From: Harris Berger <email@example.com>
Subject: Lunch meeting this week
You may not know me, but like you, I worked at Weston, Chestwick, & Fillmore before starting here. I work over in Special Projects now.
Anyway, I’ve been a long-time admirer of your work and have something to discuss with you. Are you available for lunch this Tue/Wed?