A Name On A Coffee Cup

She spies the cup on the table. Lid off. Its sleeve has fallen to the table, no longer needed by its owner to prevent burnt fingers that are already suffering from frostbite.
The cup, which is about a quarter empty, or is it a quarter full, she wonders, of brown liquid, has been abandoned by its owner.  
Mark.
That is the name emblazoned on the side of the cup, next to the familiar green logo. Surely it cannot be spelt right? It is probably Marek, or Marco. Or just perhaps they got it right for once. 
She thinks about Mark. Wonder what kind of job takes him from the Broadway into town. If he buys Starbucks every day he must be well paid, she thinks, before it occurs to her that she buys Caffé Nero soya lattes, one shot please, every day. It’s like a ritual, or is she obsessed.  
She skips her coffee today, in favour of catching the 9:08 Windsor & Eton Riverside. She has been late to work too many times recently. Already, stood on platform 6, she feels she is missing her fix. Maybe she shall take a leaf out of Mark’s book, and go to the Starbucks kiosk at Gunnersbury. Leaf. Tea leaf? No, Mark is definitely a coffee drinker. 
Could he already be drinking a second? No. His cup was still on the table outside the cafe, not joined by cups from Helen or Sanjay. He hasn’t been gone long. Long enough to hop on the Northern Line, north, not South. Not to Mordor. He’s probably passed Clapham by now, about to get off the tube at Stockwell and walk across the corridor to join the Victoria Line, also going North. Not packed today though. He takes a seat next to a man in his 50s reading about the death of David Bowie, and a woman in her 20s who opens her mouth as she applies her mascara. He opens his book. Hemingway.  
He’s a reader, as well as a coffee drinker. Yes, he read as he supped his morning coffee, and smoked his cigarette. Tried to quit last year, but the evil weed keeps him hooked. He can’t quit now, anyway, not with Amanda being the way she is. He is not ready to get married. She has been ready since she was 13. He always checks the condom after sex, and her pills in the evening, to make sure she’s still taking them. Sometimes she ‘forgets’. He remembers the last near miss.  
He is content in his life, but he knows that is because he glosses over the issues. Paints over the cracks. Layer, after layer, after layer. Layer Cake. I might watch that later on Netflix, he thinks.  
Later he arrives at work, for some reason craving another caffeine hit. Normally his morning Starbucks keeps him going until after 10am. But this morning he left some of it after receiving a call about an urgent matter requiring his attention in the office. He makes himself a coffee, his assistant Lula looking at him in surprise as he normally barks beverage orders at her.  Lula wonders if there are problems with Amanda again, not that Mark has told her this, only what she has gathered from carefully reading between the lines. As she watches him carry the cup out of the kitchen and stops to chat to one of the other partners, she wonders, and a smile plays on her lips as the fantasy plays in her head, the one where Mark proclaims his love for her and then makes love to her right there and then on the desk. Yes, Lula wonders.
She is so busy daydreaming that she does not hear her phone ring, the trill tone of an internal incoming call. 
Mark glares through the glass partitions of his office at Lula. Stupid cow, he thinks, slamming the phone down. Daydreaming again. Shakes his head. He is very fond of the girl, but sometimes her head is just not in the game. And in this business you need people who are totally committed to the game.
He thinks about Amanda again, and how he is not totally committed to that game. Far from it. He looks again over at Lula, and remembers how her hair fell over her face while she was dancing to The Final Countdown at the Christmas party. He thinks about Lula, and he wonders. 
As she gets on the Overground at Richmond, she wonders. And she thinks you can learn a lot about a person from their coffee cup. 

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The Power of Positive Blogging…

Since my Woe is Me blog post this morning, I’ve been feeling much more positive about everything. In fact, at work this morning I have agreed to give up refined sugar for lent. And since that means I’ll be without chocolate or sugar in my coffee for 40 days…I might as well blog about the experience too. It’s been almost a year since my first (and only) blogging challenge started, “The Twelve-Week Challenge”, chronicling the final three months of my university degree and the journey to where the hell I would end up after that. Well, here I am, in hell at times, some might say, but London’s not so bad. Like me, it just needs to be given a chance. So look out for the sugar free me…

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 9

So this challenge hasn’t been going so well lately.  On Friday I started getting a cold again, and have been feeling pretty crappy physically ever since.  Today started out ok; I got up around 11:30am, made coffee and sat outside in the back garden, soaking up the sun and the fresh air.  While I was sat there I decided I needed to live somewhere where it was warm and sunny all the time.  I have previously had this idea about living in Gibraltar and did a quick online search for jobs there.

I found a job that I was interested in, advertised by a recruitment agency, filled in the online application and sent it off.  After that, it was downhill all the way.

This afternoon I went to bed for a nap.  I never used to be able to sleep in the day but nowadays, if I get tired, or, like today, I feel I cannot cope with what I am feeling, I go to bed, in the hope of sleeping and shutting it all out.

This evening I have done nothing productive, with the possible exception of watching the CSI: Season 9 box set I bought on my last visit to LA in 2011.  If I had a penny for every game of Spider Solitaire I’ve played, well, I’d be quite rich by now.

As you know if you’re a reader of this blog, I do suffer with pre-menstrual tension.  Today feels like one of those days, although I still have a week and a half to go until my period is due.  So I don’t know if I can put it down to this, or just down to my depression.

I haven’t done any uni work for ages now, and my dissertation deadline is looming.  My dad said to me the other day he had seen my blog, and he hopes I’m not just writing my blog, but that I’m doing my work too.  Well, if you’ve been reading the blog, you’ll know I’ve been writing the blog but the work side of things has been tailing off.

I can’t tell you why.  I think I am scared of doing an essay.  I am scared of applying for jobs.  I am fearful of wanting anything for my life, because what if it doesn’t work out?  I have been so lost in life for so many years now, it is final coming to end of the tunnel time.  But what if the light of the tunnel is just someone with a torch?  Or worse, the headlights of an oncoming train?

My counsellor pulls me up for using the words “What if…”  I know my fears are irrational, but right now I don’t know how to get past this.

So bear with me while I try and get myself out of this deep blue funk.  Writing this blog has helped me, I can feel myself calming already.  Yet I still feel tears in my eyes.   I guess the sea is going to remain choppy for a while yet.