We walk into the tiny hipster café in uptown and my nostrils are immediately saturated in the heavenly scent of mysterious vegan coffee beans and other tantalizing fragrances. Much like the lanky young man standing beside me in line, this place is warm and familiar. It has an air of adventure even if you’ve come here before. It’s filled to the brim with excitement.
We get up to the counter to order. I make him go first, naturally. This is his sanctuary, not mine. I haven’t a clue what to order off of this elaborate menu. He orders a Foggy London town. It’s some uncommon tea latte. I copy him ordering the same thing. Then he decides to change his order, going for something more classic- a cappuccino- with two shots of espresso (as if he needs more caffeine, he is already more lively than the average five week old puppy).
We sit down at this tiny round table with a quartet of chairs. There are only two of us, but he has enough energy to make the table feel as if there are four lively people present. I survey the room. The walls are lined with bright, modern art work. It’s different than the last time we were here.
This is my third time here and by far the busiest I have ever seen Café Pyrus, but I am sitting with the same unruffled friend I have grown to know and appreciate.
We sit there making small talk as we await our drinks. But dialogue is never insincere with him. His words are quick and well-thought. He is goofy, intelligent, but most of all charming.
He is a consistent friend. Many things make him a first rate friend- the way that he listens to even the dullest of my stories, the way he is always willing to give someone a drive or lend them a fiver, but what I think makes him an especially valuable pal, is the way that he doesn’t have to wrap his arms around you to make you feel like he’s giving you a big, warm hug. He just looks at you with his welcoming smirk that bursts into a smile and slowly, but surely it spreads straight across his face and onto everyone’s in the room. He has a contagious attitude. His laugh spreads faster than the common cold in a first grade classroom.
He is sporting a freshly shaved face, green plaid shirt, black skinny jeans, black vans and his seasonal favourite- a green beanie upon his freshly cut and barely styled, yet incredibly chic hair. This guy is prettier than I am. I am not alone in this opinion of him. I have been told by my friend Maddie, “I’lI have to dress nicer if he’s going to be there” and my friend Lexi once even used him as a muse for her fashion project. This isn’t because he is a snob of any sorts. This is because he makes people want to rise to their best.
He has a very distinct sense of style, not just in clothing, but in music. He tells me that one of his biggest pet peeves is “people that think they’re better than you because of their taste in music” he says because “it’s very subjective”. When I ask him about music he wipes his mouth quickly then moves his hands excitedly. I can tell I’ve not touched a nerve, but a delicate part of his heart. He has been involved in numerous bands which have caused him to gain and lose many friendships during his 19 years of life. He admits that “every single phase of my life has a genre of music”. He even tells me with a laugh that at one point he seriously wanted a Metallica tattoo, “luckily that stage has passed”.
The friendly waiter brings us our steaming beverages and the way the steam swirls above my latte mirrors the way that aspirations dance within his head. He tells me that in five years he’d like to: live in an apartment and have a music blog, saying he doesn’t want to do “anything too professional”; though he is currently majoring in political science and minoring in French at University. He also says that he wants to assist people to gain what he calls “the little things in life”. Finally he admits “I don’t know what my relationship status will be” followed by a glance in the direction of an attractive red head.
We both gawk at her attempting to be inconspicuous as she takes off her jacket. “She is wearing all black, like I would” he jokes with infatuation glossing in his eyes. “If I was a girl I’d have that bag” he barks like a playful puppy. “I’m really attracted to her” he says as if I hadn’t noticed the way his pupils dilated in his friendly hazel eyes. She joins the sea of students in the café that are seated alone with their laptops and papers, ready to settle in for a few hours of work and a delectable drink. “She doesn’t have a Macbook. Good. I hate Macs”. He doesn’t take his eyes off of her for another beat.
Then he snaps back to our conversation, still sipping his cappuccino. That’s just like him- bobbing from topic to topic somehow seamlessly. One minute he is explaining to me that he thought the beautiful red head had black hair because he is red-green colorblind, the next he is telling me “don’t take life too seriously… You die anyways”. Banter with him has a natural rhythm. Laugh, learn, laugh, learn, sip drink, laugh some more. He’s easy to keep a conversation with. Another reason he is a good companion to keep around.
“I want to have very specific relationships” he tells me after taking another swig from his white mug. He is very passionate about this. At the end of his life he would like to have what he calls a “ sold-out funeral”, he says with a giggle (I am serious when I say giggle- it’s light and infectious and always pops up right after or before he has said something silly). With a loving heart like his, I’m sure every pew will be filled.
He is big on love. No, not the romantic kind (though, the red head seems to be a person of interest to him). He chews his napkin nervously, filing through his memory for the right quote. His eyes light up and he quotes Shakespeare saying “Love sought is good. But given unsought is even better”. These are words he lives by. He advises me, with wisdom in his eyes “everyone deserves love” then he pauses just a moment longer than usual to emphasize his point, “even if they hate you, love them”. He oozes love (and I’m not just talking about towards the red head).
We finish our drinks. I pick his brain a few minutes longer. My cheeks and abs hurt and my eyes tear up from laughing so hard. He fills the room with his joy for life.
He is not a tiny person. He is 6’2 to be exact. But he says that we’re “all actually quite small in the universe”. This is a haunting thought; yet comforting. I admire the strength in his faith, he believes with all of his heart that “we’re all a part of something bigger”. I look up to him in every way possible.
Much like the sweet latte I’ve just drank, this encounter leaves me with a warm feeling in my chest as we leave the café. I step into the bitter air, warmed not only by my mittens and coat, but by the words of my dear friend, Andrew.