Creative Exposition

Pick Me Up

She yawned for the third time in the past fifteen minutes and that only meant one thing. She needed her shot. A quick glance at her watch revealed that there were less than ten minutes before the start of her next back-to-back meetings of the day.

“Yeah, enough time,” she mumbled as she grabbed her credit card and dashed out of her office door.

For lunchtime on Wednesday, the cafe was surprisingly empty, much to her delight! Especially when she spotted the two people she wanted to avoid the most cheerily enjoying their drinks at the far corner of the shop. The shorter the queue, the quicker she could leave, for these two people are the very individuals behind her extended overtime and sleepless nights. She didn’t have time nor energy to entertain any form of small talks with them, especially not today.

“One salted foam cold brew, large, take away.”

He loves his job. He sincerely does, despite the need to be on his feet eight hours straight every day and the mediocre pay that comes with it. To him, nothing beats the warmth growing in his chest from seeing satisfied smiles plastered upon his customers’ faces after they took the first sip of their caffeinated drinks.

Especially that smile of hers whenever she picked up her order from the counter.

He first caught a glimpse of her on his first day following his transfer to the newly opened branch, located directly next to the new office building in town. Her presence was announced by the bell chimes – a sound that has become so characteristically hers – as she sauntered into the shop. Something about her draws him in. Perhaps it is the clinking noise that her bell makes. Or perhaps it is the way she carries herself. Despite being relatively more petite compared to the other regulars who frequent the shop, he couldn’t help but notice on every visit.

She always has her AirPods on and despite her gaze being fixed on her phone as she walks, she has never accidentally walked into someone else in the cafe. Once she reaches the counter, she will always look up and scan the menu thoroughly before placing her order, even though her choice is somewhat predictable to him – it is either an iced matcha latte with soy milk, ice caramel macchiato or one of the periodical new drinks on the menu.

So it took him by surprise when she suddenly ordered a salted foam cold brew that afternoon. Feeling cheeky, he decided to sneak in a small element of surprise for her in return.

It was only when she picked up her cup midway through the meeting she noticed the name written on it. Her full name – correctly spelled out no less and she couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of it. The baristas rarely got her name right but she couldn’t fault them either. There are too many possible renditions to her name – Cat, Kat, Cath, Kath, Cathy, Kathy, Catie, Katie, Caterine, Katerine – the list goes on. She was thoroughly amused given that she didn’t even mention her name to the barista earlier.

“The wonder of the barista,” she thought

Yet the surprise didn’t end there. While taking the last few sips of the drink, she noticed the stream of words written near the bottom of the glass. They were written in black so they were invisible when the glass was still full.

The corner of her lips slowly curled upwards as she read the note.

“Have I ever told you that you are pretty? :)”


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