Short Story 3: The Last Cup
by, August 19th, 2011 at 10:00 PM (894 Views)
The Last Cup
*practice on characterization and symbolism. the story is too dark for my liking, but oh well. it's unpolished and rough, so bare with me if any errors are found. there's going to be a lot.*
Smoke drifted around the old lamp, as the dim light flickered ever so slightly like the tick of a clock hand. Blurry forms of shadow, ever changing with every movement the slow drifting smoke made, seemed to dance along the slow jazz song playing in the café every time the light flickered. David breathed in once more, the tip of the cigarette on his mouth lighting brightly as the ember burned through its body.
Just like people, David thought to himself with a hint of sentiment, as the burning cigarette reminded him of people’s lives. Life burns like cigarettes, and people don’t realize passion burns it even faster. If you lit a cigarette you’ve got to keep smoking it. You just can’t help it, gotta keep that passion going.
The old café was near empty, only a slow jazz music filling the air, and two audiences sat at a lone table, silently looking at each other. The old lamp flickered once more, and the other audience, a young woman with a pale face and faded golden hair that seemed to flicker along with the lamp light, finally moved her lips apart.
“…did you really have to?”
The woman spoke, her pale face rigid with anger, along with some hint of sadness and desperation she was trying hard not to show. David finished his cigarette with one last breath, and took a sip from the coffee mug that has been sitting on the table for ten minutes, untouched. His mouth was dry.
“I told you already. Business has been bad for almost a year now. I can’t afford to keep the cafe open like this.”
“You know that’s not what I’m asking you.”
Time slowed and memories flashed behind David’s head, in spite of his efforts not to remember. He remembered the first time he had met her, entering the door with a sincere smile, her hair shining like a stream of a golden river under the bright day light. It was love at first sight, and he was the happiest man that day when she asked for a job at his café.
Time flowed once again in its normal pace, and she was in front of David just like his memories, except she was so much different; thinner face with tiny wrinkles around her eyes not from age but hardship, and the golden hair that sparkled with life had turned into strands of thin yellow strings, its life all but spent.
It has been about three months since fate had played its cruel tune upon their lives: She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was devastated as much as her at first, but there was always hope that she had a chance to live, and he would not give up. He gave all he had in order to get her through every possible therapy available, never losing hope. His fortune was not as bountiful as the hopes he had, and apparently, the amount of hope she had was even smaller.
Within a month of therapy she had lost her hopes, as well as the strength to go through the physically draining therapies that was supposed to help her but was more painful than the disease itself. Having only David to rely on, she had become extremely hysterical, and David’s patience along with his hopes of a beautiful future with her faded away, just like her smiles that disappeared ever so quickly.
Another sip, and he looked at her face again. Despite the caffeine in the drink, he felt fatigue washing over his body. He was tired: Tired of spending his life for a person who has given up on her own life. She was not the same person he had come to love so deeply, and he did the only thing he could think of in order to severe the ties between them.
“I don’t love you anymore.”
Silent, her eyes watered for an instance, but there weren’t any tears flowing down. One more sip from the coffee mug, and he stood up, intending to let her know that the conversation was over. Then he fell, fatigue in his body overwhelming his strength to move. Dim lights seemed to fade to David’s eyes, and the last thing he saw was her figure standing up with the coffee mug he had been drinking from, gulping down the remaining contents viciously.
“I love you… We’ll be together soon.”
That was the last thing David heard before darkness took him, and a few minutes later a gentle thud leaked from the closed doorways of the café. The old lamp seemed to finally give out, no more flickering with dim light, and only the nameless jazz song flowed through the night.