almost as scarce as vacation time, but I took all of mine, just to be free of guarding that
coffee warehouse. But, somehow, despite myself, I ended up in a coffee bar, ordering an
in-house mocha blend. As I waited, I watched the people that were drinking coffee. At the
tables, there were quite a few young collage students drinking to stay awake, or so I
guessed. Sitting on the floor were the addicts. Most had hair in colors rarely or never
found in nature and lots of piercing. There was a loud group of middle aged people to one
side, discussing something or another. And, there was a lone women, looking over a large
book laid flat on her table. Maybe it was the color of her hair, or her eyes, or the way she
chewed her pencil, but I had to talk to her.
"May I take this seat?"
"Sure," she said, without even looking up from her book. Her hair was pulled back from
her eyes. I sat down next to her. She was completely absorbed by that book.
"So, what are you doing?"
She looked up at me, with a hint of confusion in her eyes, "Where did you come from?"
'My mother,' I thought and smiled. "You said I could sit here."
"Oh," she said. Her eyes were watching some far away time, as if she was thinking.
She waved her hand, as if to brush it aside. "Well, then, I'm studying this map."
Looking down at the map, I saw she had traced a path across it. "Excuse me, but if you
went this way," I said as I traced a line across the map, "You would avoid this mountain
She watched me for what seemed a long time, her eyes locked with mine. "Are you as
good in the wilderness as you are on paper?"
I blushed in spite of myself. I knew she hadn't meant it like that. "I would like to think
"I need someone to come with me, someone who is strong and can keep going for long
periods of time with little rest. Think you can handle it?" she asked while her mouth moved
into a seductive smile.
"What are you going to be doing?"
"I'm looking for an ancient village that is hidden somewhere in this valley," her finger
pointed to a valley on the map.
"Does it have anything to do with coffee or chocolate?"
"Then I accept."
I left that night without even a name, but she had everything; name, address, and
The sun shone in brightly. I could see its brightness through my eyelids. The doorbell
"Just a second, I'm coming," I yelled as I jumped up and put on my clothes. I glanced at
the clock before I left the room, which read 7:30. I got to my door and looked out the
peephole. The girl from last night was outside.
"Well, are you ready?" she asked as I opened the door.
"No, I just got up, You said we'd be leaving late, it's 7:30," I said as I tried to rub the
sleep from my eyes.
"This is late, if I was going by myself, I would've left hours ago."