1 June 2021
The elderly man had been taking drink orders from table to table.
When he came to me I asked for kopi-o, meaning black coffee with added sugar.
Perhaps there were too many orders to hold in his mind so he asked me again. He repeated my order after me like a child willing himself to memorise the multiplication table without understanding.
Sensing his slight panic as he struggled mentally to collate his orders, I casually said, “Don’t worry, uncle. Just bring me what you can remember. I’ll drink it even if it’s the wrong one.”
Upon my words, a look of relief unfolded across his face like a flower blooming.
The peace radiating from his shrunken frame was quite unmistakable. Till this day I can recall that peace at will.
When I rid the elderly coffee shop worker of his anxiety, I also released me from the fixation of having my order obeyed in certain ways.
So I learnt that when we allow others to breathe, we can also breathe.❤️