Coffee and Winding Vines
Lulu tried to calm her nerves and gazed at the full moon shining on the overgrown garden with its tangle of briar and bramble she loved so much. She sat on the back porch and gave a slight shiver as the cool breeze pricked her cheeks. White steam billowed from the cup of coffee in her hand, its soft tendrils caressing her nose with their comforting aroma of roasted coffee and cardamom.
Lulu made coffee the way Nanna had always made it: ground to a powder, strong and dense with that added cardamom that always sent her senses on a delicious flight to bygone days.
It had delighted her to find that, besides the little painted cabinet, her awful relatives had also left behind her grandfather’s wooden manual coffee grind and its everlasting scent of coffee beans and cardamom.
Lulu gave an exasperated sigh; her relatives had been harassing her for the past few weeks. They wanted the house and tried to convince her to sign bogus documents that would hand it over to them. Lulu was inexperienced, but not stupid, and her cousins’ latest attempts to sweet-talk her and seduce her annoyed and offended her.
They had been pounding on the door all day, gaining no entrance as Lulu ignored the heavy blows on the door, and their loud demands for her to open it. The cool breeze still carried their shrieking voices over the fence and through the gardens, and Lulu wondered if they would ever tire.
“Doubtful,” she muttered, “there’s no rest for the wicked.”
The silver moon cast a shadow on the white steam swirling from the coffee cup; it gleamed with a red glow. The red tentacles of steam rose, multiplied and expanded, until a red, ghostlike figure glimmered and quivered beside her.
“I am at your service,” Djinn’s deep voice rumbled like thunder rolling down a mountain.
Lulu smiled, but said nothing. She sipped her coffee and watched the moon-rays playing on the twining vines that wound themselves around the porch pillars and adjacent pergola.
Lulu whispered, “I only wish for peace.”
Djinn grinned and nodded.
Lulu closed her eyes as the hot coffee oozed down her throat; the cardamom warmed her insides while its bitter taste soothed all her worries. The harsh day fell away, and her relatives’ angry faces melted into oblivion in her mind. They seemed to dissipate, and Lulu felt an inner barrier going up, an imaginary brick wall they could never penetrate.
She opened her eyes and realized that impenetrable barrier not only surrounded her but also the house. The pounding on the door stopped, and their angry calls blew away with the breeze. For the first time in weeks, Lulu felt the silence and peace embracing her house and garden.
Smiling, Lulu gazed at the moon and enjoyed her coffee, knowing her relatives would never bother her again.