creative non-fiction secrets

Hopes, Dreams and Caffeine

The walls of coffee shops are lined with secrets. Sit down with Amy Clarkin, and revel in confidences shared over coffee in our first piece for SECRETS.

by Amy Clarkin

The walls of coffee shops are lined with secrets. Whispered words have lodged themselves in the cracks between the floorboards. They leave traces, murmured confidences lingering like lipstick smudges on the rim of a cup.

We meet, often bleary eyed in the mornings, to share our exploits from previous days and nights, caffeine energising our voices as much as our bodies.  We sit in the soft light of the cafe, leaning in conspiratorially towards each other with our elbows balanced on the edges of tables, wicked smiles and understanding looks speaking a language unique to us. We share more than beverages, hopes and dreams tripping off our tongues while cold hands cradle comfortingly warm mugs, words flowing over the intricate designs floating on top of artfully foamed milk. The heat seeps into our bones, lending courage to anxious hearts. It bolsters our hopes and strengthens voices that softly speak of fears and heartbreaks, of desires and aspirations.

“We sit in the soft light of the cafe, leaning in conspiratorially towards each other with our elbows balanced on the edges of tables, wicked smiles and understanding looks speaking a language unique to us.”

There is something in the act of meeting for a coffee that invokes an aura of trust, a promise that secrets can be uttered and will go no further. Our talks are classified, the air around us charged with knowing grins and conspiratorial glances, with sympathetic smiles and understanding eyes. Our words pool in the dregs at the bottom of delicate blue cups. Our clandestine conversations collect in the beads of condensation that slip slowly down cold glasses of iced drinks in the summer.  Hidden longings, sometimes concealed even from ourselves until the point of their revelation, bubble to the surface. They are released with a sudden pop like the crack of a pull-ring on a can of soft drink being opened. The walls absorb our words, soaking in our emotions like thick sponges. Silent and sturdy, they take in our intimate discussions. We have no reason to fear that they will reveal our private mysteries. We can leave the coffee shop with unburdened hearts and lighter spirits, secure in their protection. They will shield our exposed hearts with brick and mortar, until we return again to softly murmur more of our secrets, our emotions flowing like the dark swirls of liquid in the cups before us.


Amy Clarkin | @amyclarkin

Amy is a 27-year-old writer and film reviewer from Dublin. She can generally be found drinking coffee and reading, writing or watching stories.

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