COFFEE AND TEA – Chapter One – Introduction
After a cup of tea or coffee the stomach says to the brain, “Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!”
Jerome K. Jerome
Do you know that there is just only one Stop Sign in the busy streets of Paris?
Yes. That’s it!
However, there are around 7000 cafes in the City of Light. People don’t sit in the cafes for only a coffee, or tea and a croissant; they go sit outside for hours and watch life and there is nothing more French than this. Parisians and visitors flock in cafes come rain or come shine. Each café has got a unique vibe, yet everywhere there are donuts dipped in chocolate. Parisian cafes invite us to try their fantastic and very expensive espresso and take part in a beautiful story.
The best place to watch Paris go by is Café de Flore – glamorous guests gather there to mix with vacant locals and satisfy their senses. The café is named after the Roman Goddess of Flora, the patron of flowers and spring – you can spot a statue of her just across the street.
Once upon an alluring morning, Ashton Rowan, a French man of various interests, was having his morning late with almost an inch of cream in Café de Flore. He was wearing a stylish black leather jacket on his slender and handsome shape. His exclusively charming, warm, brown eyes were almost masked by really expensive glasses, slightly glowing in purple in the morning sun. He was reading a newspaper article on the French Health Care system and having a chocolate Éclair. While he was sipping from the late a young woman, obviously a foreigner spoke to him in impeccable English.
“Would you like to show me around? I like everything French!”
She couldn’t have made a more unpleasant first impression to the conservative Ashton; he thought she must be really dull as a doll. But she had an extremely appealing face with deep hazel-green eyes, full of a soft glow and affection. She was talking bullshit and that to a stranger, but she was curvaceous, she was wearing glasses and she looked like the nicest person you can meet.
“Isabel” – she presented herself and extended her arm to greet him. “Isabel August.”
“I am Rowan. Ashton Rowan. How can I be of assistance?” He thought the impertinent tourist’s name was really pretty like herself. He knew this type of women – acting around men like teenagers, flashing their adorable smiles, until they completely enchant them, and have their way with them. But he knew them well enough to protect himself. “Do you have eighteen years of age?”
“That’s absolutely irrelevant,” said Isabel, who had already felt his annoyance.
“But thank you!”
“Would you be kind to tell me, why from all the men in Paris you chose to contact me?”
“I like men who read.”
“What would you like to see in Paris?”
“Just the cafes.”
“I know tourists flock here to see the Eiffel Tower. But I am a Gemini woman, and as such I am most interested in talks. So, I will definitely have the best time in Paris, if I can converse with a local person about all stuff of culture and appeal. You seem to be a guy from the capital. Plus, I like your glasses.”
“What is it that interests you?”
“I am a writer. Anything interests me.”
That was a blow below the waist. A creative profession, obviously rich culture and a significant amount of braveness – this woman was really hard to ignore and he didn’t like that for various reasons.
“Actually,” he said, “you are quite lucky, for I am in the middle of the annual holidays, so I can spare some time to show you around. Please have a sit. What are we going to discuss? Mind you, I know everything about anything.”
“I have a list of interests in this small notepad. I would like to discuss each of them. I want to have a drink in every self-respecting coffee-house of Paris and know a true Parisian.”
“Shall we” – he said and opened the first page. “With a deformed handwriting and in red ink on the page was written “Ancient History.”