Did God Make Me Like Lattes?
I’m a firm believer in that spirit you feel in the pit of your stomach. When you just get “that” feeling. I don’t know if everyone has it, I don’t know if it’s a common occurrence but it burns. It’s the moment when you know you have to do something. You have to act. You have to move.
I was driving somewhere with Zak. We had a set destination and job to do and that’s it. That’s how we get things done. We both have short attention spans so our days get bullet points. At this point in our lives “coffee” was just another word. I hadn’t been someone who needed coffee. Wake up, chug some water, get your ass out the door - that’s the remedy in my apartment. But for some reason that day my inner self decided it wanted a latte.
“What are you doing?”
I’m just going to pull in here for a second.
I want a latte.
I say the words. I’m hot. I don’t want a fucking latte. Why did I say that? Why did I pull in here? Okay, inner self, I guess you want coffee. I pull into a Starbucks on the way to our destination and before I even put my car in park I know why I’m there. All of these things, ideas, reasons, realizations clash instantly. Zak doesn’t know yet, but he will, I didn’t come here for a latte.
We get out of the car but I can’t make it to the door. There’s a gentleman rocking back and forth on the seat talking to himself in front of Starbucks, one of his shoes thrown aside. I feel this heat in me bubbling, it hurts, I turn around and get back in the car. I burst into tears for a reason unknown. All I could feel was heat and tears. I calmed down and let Zak know that I would be consoling him today. I have to give him a heads up because sometimes I just run into situations I shouldn’t be in, sometimes I run to help without thinking of my safety. But that day there was an unspeakable feeling of assurance and safety inside of me that left me with no fear. A feeling that spoke: "Go."
So I walked up to the man as he rocked back and forth, speaking to himself, I lightly touched him on the shoulder and he snapped out of it. He looked up at me with full eyes. I picked up his shoe and asked if he wanted help putting it back on. I talked with him to see if there was anyone I could call or anything I could do to help.
How many times have you seen someone disheveled, rocking back and forth? Talking to themselves? I hurt for him. I had no idea what was happening in his mind but I’ve been there. What breaks my heart is that if I break down on a busy street, crying, shaking and talking to myself - people will come help. At the very least someone will find help. But this man was left there for however long, quivering alone when he should have had someone there.
He got himself together which was a nice sign that he was back in our reality for a moment with me. I asked him what he’d like to eat and he said anything warm. So I waited on line in Starbucks. As I grabbed a sandwich and water he comes up to me with the most innocent voice and says
“Can I get something with vanilla?”
Vanilla. Vanilla is a flavor that most people wouldn’t think twice about. Vanilla is a flavor almost overlooked by people. When his sweet voice asked for vanilla my heart bloomed. Such a simple request. Vanilla.
I got him the largest, warmest vanilla coffee. He got his bag together and seemed in better spirits but there wasn’t much else I could do. Part of me wanted to call someone to make sure he got help but I didn’t want to pressure him.
I got back in my car.
“Where’s your latte?”
I don't want a latte anymore.
I drove off feeling like I should have done more. I wanted to bring him somewhere. To my home, cook him a meal, hear his story, anything. But I had to be okay with the fact that he was happy he got vanilla that day.