63 - A Short Story - The Aroma of Coffee

September 20, 2020

"Donny dear, can you do me a favor today?" Celia asked from the kitchen.

"I suppose so, what do you need?" Donny was sitting at the dining table outside on the patio drinking a cup of coffee.

"We need coffee, I used the last of it this morning. You remember the one we buy, right? The one in the blue package," she said as she was putting some dishes in the cupboards.

"Yes, of course, it's one of the few I actually like," he said, looking into the cup at the dark hot drink. He'd tried just about every brand of coffee that the store they shop at sells and this particular brand was his favorite of them all.

"Okay, and could you also pick up..." and she rattled off a list of things she needed, quite a bit more than just coffee.

"Just a minute, sweetie, can you write me a list? I'll never remember all that," he complained, "I thought you said it was just coffee."

"Well, maybe a bit more than just coffee," Celia walked outside, handed him a list, and kissed him on his cheek. "You don't mind, do you?" She gave him another kiss and a smile.

After the kiss, Donny said, "Of course, I don't mind, anything for you, my love". He pulled her down onto his lap and pressed his lips to hers, again.

At the store Donny had his shopping cart and had just about everything on the list, now he had only the coffee to get. At the shelf with the coffee, he reached out to take a package off the shelf, and as soon as his hand touched the blue package something happened.

Everything changed! The store was gone and in its place was, well, what exactly was it? Donny looked around, completely lost, and disoriented. His head was spinning, but then his whole body was spinning around as he looked around in every direction.

"Hey! What happened?" he called out, but nobody heard him and nobody replied.

"Hey! Hello!" he yelled louder, still to nobody.

To himself, he said, "Something about this place looks familiar, but why? I've never been to a place like this. What kind of plants are these? They look familiar." He took a close look at the plants all around him and realized they were planted in straight rows, so he was on a farm of some kind. The weather was very warm and quite humid.

Then it hit him like a ton of bricks, "Oh my god! It can't be!" He remembered the picture on the front of the coffee package. The place he was standing in was the place in the picture! "How? How can this be? It's not possible, it's NOT POSSIBLE!" he shouted, but there was nobody nearby to hear him.

He walked through the coffee plantation, to where he did not know. He had no idea which way to go to get to a road, or a farm, or whatever was out here besides coffee plants. And he walked and walked some more, up one hillside and down the other.

Eventually, he saw a house in the distance. He quickened his steps and before long he was almost running. He got to the front door of the house, a nice house - a masonry blockhouse, tile roof, full width covered wraparound porch, lots of potted plants and wicker chairs, even a couple of hammocks - a very comfortable house, he thought. He knocked on the door.

A woman opened the door, "Welcome! Please come in!" She spoke English but with a noticeable Spanish accent. "Please, have a seat, would you like a cup of coffee? It's fresh, just roasted the beans this morning. From right out there," and she pointed to the coffee plants outside.

The woman seemed to be completely at ease with the stranger, as if they were long time friends. What Donny didn't know was that the package of coffee he picked off the store shelf was a special package.

Donny asked, "Where am I? How did I get here? Who are you? What is this place?"

"All in good time," replied the woman as she placed a cup of coffee in front of him, along with a few crackers and cheese.

"This is excellent coffee, thank you," said Donny, "it is the same as this coffee I buy at the store."

The woman replied, "Yes, you bought a special package of coffee this time. A very special package. Now drink up, there's lots to see."

He finished the coffee and the crackers and cheese and was feeling physically better but still had all those questions bothering him.

"Come with me," the woman said to Donny and she led him out of the house, around the porch to the backyard and then to another building. Donny was noticing the yard around the house, it was beautiful, with lots of tropical, or were they subtropical? plants around the house, he wasn't sure, he wasn't very familiar with the foliage of the tropical parts of the world.

"Ah, you've made it, excellent!" said a mustachioed man with dark eyes, black hair, and a very short stubble beard.

"Were you expecting me?" asked Donny, still wondering just what in the world happened to him.

"Yes, we have been expecting you to arrive today, and we are so happy you are here. Let me explain to you," and the man took Donny through a building with coffee roasters, and people sorting the beans, and areas for washing them, and all the while explained how it was that Donny ended in this magical place. Well, the package was the only thing magical, the place was simply real.

After the tour, they returned to the house and walked out and into the coffee field, and walked and walked. When they arrived at a particular place the next thing Donny knew was that he was standing in the store, in front of the coffee shelf.

He looked around, feeling strange, even guilty, wondering how long he had been standing there. And the entire time had he been like a statue? Did anyone notice him? He looked at the time on his cellphone and couldn't believe what he saw.

"Excuse me, can you tell me the time? I think my phone clock is somehow slow," he asked another shopper. That person told him the time and he saw that it was the same as on his phone.

He started to walk towards the checkout stands and was quietly talking to himself, "How can this be? I had to have been gone many hours, but the time hasn't changed but a few seconds. They said it was magical. But magic doesn't really exist, right? How can it?"

"What?" asked the lady in the line in front of him.

"Oh, excuse me, I was just talking to myself, wondering about something," he told her.

"Oh, I see you have that wonderful coffee, that's my favorite brand," she said when she saw the blue package in the cart.

"Hmm? Oh, yeah. Yes, it's my wife's and my favorite as well," and he went on and described the way a coffee plantation operates from growing to selling, he explained everything to the woman.

"Wow, it sounds like you've actually been there, have you?" she asked.

"Well, as a matter of fact, I have, and it was wonderful, even magical, you might say," he said with a big smile.

When he got home he had to decide if he should say anything to Celia about the weird, fantastical journey, and he still hadn't come to a decision when he entered the kitchen.

"Hi sweetie, did you get everything on the list?" asked Celia as she gave him a hug and a kiss, and she noticed something about him that was somehow different.

"Yes, darling, I got everything. Can you make me a cup of coffee, please?" he asked her.

"Yes, of course, I think I'll have one, too," she said, still holding on to him. "There's something different about him, a scent? I'm not sure," she thought to herself. And Donny suspected that she suspected something was different.

Celia opened the package of coffee and when she smelled the aroma of the coffee she immediately knew what it was she smelled on her husband - coffee!

"Donny, why do you smell like coffee? In particular, this coffee? What did you do? Squeeze the bag to get the scent on your shirt? Couldn't you wait until you got home?" she was joking as she was asking him.

Laughing with her, he replied, "Very funny. As a matter of fact, you won't believe what happened to me when I got this package of coffee off the shelf in the store..."