Update! Expect a couple of long chapters in the horizon. Also, NaNoWriMo!
Chapter 1: Dorian
I think I’ve met him before but I just can’t pin point when. Whenever I would trace my memories back, it becomes hazier and hazier until I think my memories don’t feel like memories at all. Rather, they all feel like dreams – and dreams don’t exist as they are just your subconscious’ wishful thinking. Or that’s what I wanted to think.
I’ve read somewhere that dreams symbolize something significant that is to happen or repressed desires. Sometimes, they’re hidden memories so painful you don’t want to remember them.
I felt the right side of my head throb uncomfortably. I should stop paying trips down to memory lane. It always gives me this bad migraine and it gets really inconvenient.
“Dorian?” I heard Dmitri speak out. He sounded really worried. “You zoned out right there. Are you sure you’re alright?”
I gave Dmitri the best of my smiles. “I’m alright. All of that running made me dehydrated.” I thanked the waitress as she placed my order in front of me, a lime green thing they called as Citrus Moringa Shake. I watched as Dmitri’s eyes light up when his order was placed.
“That looks like a kiddie drink,” I said when the waitress left. I gave the menu a glance. I’ve seen it loads of times whenever I would drop by one the way home or to get some me-time. Usually, I would look straight at the coffee list and not mind anything else so it felt strange to see something that’s already in the menu feel so new. It wasn’t really placed in the kiddie section but in the non-caffeine portion. Did they mis-categorize?
“Hey, hey!” Dmitri pointed his dessert spoon at me. “Never make fun of a good drink especially if it heaped with good Milo cereal and Milo powder.”
I looked closely at his drink and realized he wasn’t wrong with that. I am sorry Milo gods for having doubted you. “Damn, I should have gotten one.”
“Well, the Moringa one isn’t bad either.”
“It’s sweet but not too diabetic and it’s refreshing.”
I squinted at him. “I know this place almost like the back of my hand but you seem to know this better than me.”
Dmitri gave this specific deer caught in the headlights look. A-ha, caught you.
“Well…” he began. “I’m not exactly a stranger to this café even if I don’t really come here often but I sorta know the owner.”
Ahh…. Is he part-owner? He looks way too young to be in a part-ownership. Maybe he works here?
There’s just too many possibilities.
“Dorian?” I heard a heavily-accented yet warm voice call out to me. I looked behind Dmitri to see Ivan, the proprietor of the café. He was a tall and big man of Russian descent with a big heart and a warm smile. He’s married to Aunt Bell, a family friend and a ballerina. They have two children, Ilya who’s in the same level as me and is the current captain of the debate team, and Nathanja who’s still toddling in her diapers at kindergarten. She’s sometimes called Nana because she refers herself in third person.
Ivan gave every person sporting the granny hair look like second-rates because of his naturally platinum hair. He also gives Hollywood a bad rep since he is neither a KGB agent nor a villain bent on world domination; but he does want to dominate the coffee industry someday. Whenever he’s not being a super dad and a future coffee tycoon, he teaches European languages at the nearby community college and swimming.
“Hello, Ivan.” I smiled and rose from my chair to give him a kiss on the cheek. I got a few stares since a beso isn’t common in this parts but I shook it off even if it a bit unnerving with me. Ivan didn’t look fazed at all but rather he looked pleased that I still practiced something from my culture.
Being Latino has its ups and downs, physically and culturally but I learned to live with it. Even if I was adopted, one of my dads is a Latino and he would always tell me that it will always be a part of me and I shouldn’t let anyone make me feel inferior because of it. It was hard in a pre-dominantly white country but I’m trying to.
“Ah, Dorian I hope you’re not playing hookie.” Ivan gave me a reprimanding look. A trying hard one. I don’t know if he was trying hard not to laugh or trying hard not to look amused. “Shouldn’t you be in school?”
“Well, it’s a long story.” I grinned up at him. “At least I bought something so you can’t really throw me out yet and I bought a friend with me.”
“A friend?” Ivan grinned.
Geez, has word really gotten around that it is a rare occurrence for me to be seen with someone, let alone a friend? Or maybe he’s speculating that it’s that other type of friend.
“No, just a friend-friend.” I smiled back then gestured to Dmitri. “Ivan, this is Dmitri. Dmitri, Ivan. He’s the own –“
“Dmitri?!” Ivan looked at him then at me. “You’re friends with Dmitrius?”
Apparently someone has secrets of their own. “You know Ivan, Dmitri?” I asked my ‘friend’ with a pointed look.
Dmitri just gave me a small smile and turned to his side to give the man a small wave. “Hi, Ivan.” He looked like he wanted to make a big hole and bury himself in it. I wouldn’t blame him since I feel like doing it myself right now. Has the world really gotten that small today?
“Of course we know each other!” Ivan boomed, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “I’ve known him since he was in diapers. His father and I are college buddies with Fuyuha. Plus, this guy works here from time to time in the summer. Nana tends to call him Tritri whenever she spots him. Clings to him like some koala bear. I’ll show you the pictures if you want. He never mentioned that you two are friends.”
Yikes, the world got even smaller. I suddenly feel claustrophobic.
Catch up with the entire series here.
Playlist for this story (Spotify):