Life for Beginners Stories by Kenny Mah

Don’t wait for the end of the tunnel

by Kenny Mah

I sit down. I’ve ordered us our coffees. You wanted the affogato and I decided I wanted one too. You smile at me shyly. It’s been too long since we’ve talked or shared a drink together. How unusual that we wanted the same thing; usually you’d go for something white, for the latte art, perhaps, while I prefer it black and unsweetened.

But we both do like our coffees.

We talk and the months — the years, really — slip away easily. I curse a lot more when I’m with you; you laugh a lot more too, I think. We recall our former colleagues and clients with fondness and fatigue. Old loves and pursuits with regret and relief. Ah, but that’s all in the past now.

Except I can see it isn’t, not for you.

I want to tell you we have to leave our history behind us; our mistakes are not in our present. I want to tell you to start afresh, to build on the air in your lungs now and the strength that still resides inside you. Forget the tears and sweat and blood of yesterday. Let go of the fatigue and the regret.

Don’t wait for the light at the end of the tunnel. We have no guarantee of reaching it. We only have right now, my friend.

We finish our coffees. My cursing and ribald jokes come to an end too. But your sweet smile and joyful laughter? Let those ring on always, my dear.

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