I Don't Drink Coffee
“Why are you staring at me like that?”
Zakai inquired as he sipped his morning coffee, casting a sidelong glance towards Leah. She had been staring at him for an awkward amount of time, and his question did not succeed at making her stop. After a few more moments, he grew fed up with her eyeballing him, fully turning to her in hopes of making her snap out of it.
“I don’t drink coffee...” Leah replied softly, his offer earlier catching her off guard.
“You offered me...”
“What are you on about?” Zakai grumbled sleepily and raised his mug to his lips again. He was hoping the Lukewarm beverage would wake him up quicker if he drank faster, which was evident by his big gulps. “It’s too early for this.”
I thought people sipped coffee... Not inhaled it.
Leah thought as she stared silently at the man hunched over in front of her. He did not seem the slightest bit aware of the mistake he made, even when she brought it up. Her weak effort at confronting him was halted by his unbothered glance, and any pathetic attempt at voicing her concern that morning was definitely not welcomed by him.
“You are looking a little extra comfortable. I’m late, but I’ll make you some coffee just how you like.”
She recalled the events of that morning and felt her body tense up. Surely it was a mistake, maybe an intentional one. Or was it a joke? He was tired and half asleep, sleepy people make mistakes... Or reveal some secrets. The array of new theories danced into her brain; she had already accumulated a handful of assumptions based on him coming home late and acting distant.
She felt a twinge of guilt for thinking that way, but she couldn’t help herself. She was in love with a man who was not himself; he hadn’t acted normally in about two months. Every time she tried to speak up, he would shut her down. Any strive to get him to explain himself was refused instantly. Any answer would have sufficed, he just was not prepared to give her any.
Leah shuffled around uncomfortably, contemplating whether to ask about it again or let it go before he snapped at her. She figured she was overthinking, but at the same time, she thought that this was a massive slip-up. The warm sunlight spilled through the blinds and onto his face, dancing across his features as she assessed him. Normally, this would help anyone appear peaceful, relaxed, even innocent, but all she could picture was him sleeping with another woman.
Was it unreasonable to draw such a significant conclusion from a minor blunder? No, not to her. It was like serving shrimp to a seafood-allergic girlfriend. Was he trying to kill her? He had to know by then the kind of person she was; Five years of dating had to have taught him something. Leah was the last person you want to present a piece of evidence to—She will pursue it.
Was it a massive slip-up? Was it not? Are you overthinking again?
Throughout the years, Leah had always expressed her deep hatred for coffee. Coffee drinkers to her were weak. The trendy phrase “Don’t talk to me before my morning coffee,” made her roll her eyes more times than she would’ve liked to admit. She recalled the number of times this topic was brought up throughout their relationship, this silly, pointless topic. Maybe due to the lack of interests between them, or his need to prove his opinion stronger than hers. Leah would always argue that anyone incapable of living life without a bitter-tasting bean juice was weak to her, while Zakai insisted that he could easily live without coffee, but repeatedly fail to prove it.
What women have you been offering coffee to in the morning...? How many? Are they more interesting than me? Sexier? Blonde maybe?
The mug he had poured for her was directly in front of her, staring her down, or maybe she was absentmindedly glaring at it. She felt silly. The number of scenarios that slithered into her brain from this tiny insignificant incident made her feel insane. All he did was offer her a coffee.
He offered her a coffee.
Why on earth would he offer her a coffee?
Not wanting the idea of him cheating on her to linger in her brain, she walked away from the kitchen, leaving him and his two mugs of bitter-tasting disappointment alone. Maybe once he saw the second mug more clearly now that he was awake, he would rectify what he had done.
Zakai had not realized what he had done. Upon finishing his mug of liquid gold, he was surprised to find another one on the uncomfortably small kitchen table. The first thought in his mind was that Leah made him a mug not knowing he had already made one. Morning Zakai was not the brightest version of himself.
Thank you, Leah. More for me.
His pleased grin faded as his lips parted to embrace the second mug of coffee. Zakai stood up and took a huge gulp, prepared to get dressed. He worked as a security guard for a local hospital a few blocks away. It wasn’t the most exciting job in the world, but he was satisfied for the time being. His girlfriend, Leah, was not working, so he needed to provide for her. Meaning he paid for rent, food, bills, and ridiculously priced gifts to keep their relationship from sinking.
Zakai loved his girlfriend, he did, but she did not make it easy. Leah was starting to get on his nerves. The more he spent time with her, the more he was inclined to pull away from her, take up more shifts at work... Meet other women. He did not know why. Maybe he got bored of the routine, or he simply did not believe in love the same way he did years ago.
Yeah yeah, cheating is bad, but I got scammed. I would have never gotten into a relationship with Leah if I knew it would be like this.
They didn’t have a single thing in common—Not even half a thing. Zakai pretended to enjoy her company at first, hoping for a one-night stand, but Leah developed an unhealthy fascination with him. After a year of dating, Zakai discovered that she had been pretending to like what he liked for just long enough to capture him in her spider web. At least, that’s how it seemed to him. Their long and impassioned discussions about art, food, and music dwindled with time, and by the two-year mark, they had completely vanished.
All they could do for the next few years was reminisce over the memories they created at first, masking their act as happiness.
I can’t leave her...
Zakai knew it was no option. If he broke up with her, Leah would never be the same. He could not bear the thought of ruining someone’s life. Instead, he preferred to satisfy his needs quietly, sneaking off with random women, spending his extra money on them, then blaming the missing cash on investments in the stock market.
I would never invest in the stock market. If she knew me even the slightest bit, she would know that.
Zakai’s lies grew increasingly more sophisticated and intricate, he became sneakier. His ego was growing, and he couldn’t stop it from getting the best of him; he was leading a second life, and she had no idea. Zakai was self-assured, perhaps a touch too self-assured. He had a difficult relationship with Leah. He loved enough about her not to abandon her, but not enough to not cheat on her. He hadn’t even considered her finding out, maybe due to his egotistical thoughts, or his underestimation of her cleverness.
He sported his tights-fitting uniform; Zakai disliked tight clothing, but it did accentuate his muscles, which was a nice perk. He snuck out the door without saying goodbye to his girlfriend, who was now left alone in their apartment with the company of two empty coffee mugs.