“A Moments Wrest”, Chapter 7: With Or Without You

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7 With Or Without You

“Thank you Officer Berk, for coming by”, Sarah said, “I really appreciate the update into Oren’s accident”.

“Of course Mrs. Barrat… I mean Sarah”, Cody corrected himself. He stood up from his visiting room chair, “I wish I had more to tell you, but we are committed to figuring out exactly what happened.”

“Well, you know where I’ll be if you discover anything new”, Sarah said in a monotone voice. “Right here.”

Berk nodded slightly in response to her last statement. He knew there was nothing he could say to make her feel better about her situation. In his police training, he had taken crisis intervention classes where they memorized several appropriate responses to statements like this one. But in real life situations, he often avoided using them, especially for people he had honest empathy for. It just felt cold and mechanical. Perhaps it was because he went through it himself. He just knew it was better to let people own their loss and not try to minimize it with a cheap saying. He hated it when others had tried that on him.

“I’m sorry this happened to you,” Berk said, surprising himself. He wasn’t going to say anything else before stepping away, but he looked at her one more time and the words just came out. “… and your family.”

“Thank you”, Sarah replied. She noted a flash of compassion. In that moment he talked like a regular person, and not an on-duty police officer. She watched has he turned and walked down the hall, disappearing around the corner. She turned to go back through Oren’s curtain but stopped.

“I think I need a coffee… and to brush my teeth”, she said to herself as she started down the hallway. “Poor guy!”

Oren lookeforest_floord at the white sand stained by his black footprints one more time before turning into the forest. The words spoken by the voice hung over him in his mind, You cannot stay here.

It was so vivid, he almost thought he heard it again. He decided not to think about it. This was not a time to get caught up in jumbled fantasies. He needed to find his way back, but… back to where?

The beach rose in elevation as it merged into the treeline. This edge of the beach formed a ridge that hid a deep and tall forest behind it. He had no idea how far it went, and could not see through to the other side. It felt miles long.

As he stepped towards it, he remembered his feet were bare. “Oh no, where are my shoes?” There was no more plush sand. It was now a forest floor, covered with rocks, roots and all sorts of surprises. More of a surprise than black tar?

“I certainly hope not”, he muttered to himself as he stepped into the dense forest of trees.

Sarah ripped open two packets of sugar at the beverage station in the cafeteria, and dumped them into a large coffee. As she did, tears filled her eyes. Waves of emotion caught her off guard. As she sucked in a breath of air, Sarah quickly looked around to see if anyone noticed. She grabbed a plastic lid and pressed it over the mouth of the cup.

Sarah never used to have sugar in her coffee before she met Oren. In fact, she never really drank coffee. She had always been more of a tea girl. The younger Oren invited her out for coffee several weeks after landing on campus at the start of the second semester. She was lonely as the new girl, and he was simply too cute to say no. She did not know he was engaged at the time, and she was always quick to mention it.

latte_art_coffeeOren said they had a nice selection of beans from all over the world, but the Ethiopian blend was something special. They roasted fair trade beans which seemed quite important. She had no idea what “fair trade” meant, but she never let on.

He found a cute little table in the side widow and went to the coffee bar. He came back presenting a vanilla latte in a wide mouth mug. It had a little flower poured into the top layer. Sarah had never seen anything like that before. Oren had lamented he could not yet do it himself. She did not know anything about latte art either, but absolutely loved it. She covered her ignorance with a Seinfeld-ish quip, “it is all in the pour”.

Within a year of their first anniversary, he made her coffee every morning. He had not learned to pour latte art, but could brew a perfect cup. He put in two sugars, and never failed to tease her saying she “was sweet, but could be a little sweeter”. This happened for many years, and she was hooked.

Sarah stood at the coffee station in the cafeteria watching the cream swirl into the hot coffee.

She realized Oren had not made her coffee now for many mornings. No, he was upstairs unconscious in a bed, immobile and unresponsive. And here she was standing in a hospital cafeteria several floors below, doing his job, putting sugar in a coffee he got her addicted to. It wasn’t fair.

Not fair at all. The tears came back.

…continued with Chapter 8



Forest Photo Credit: Dr. RawheaD via Compfight cc 
Latte Photo Credit: Cocoa Dream via Compfight cc 
Original Cover Photo Credit unknown