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There are three cups in front of me.
A frappe, an americano, and a Greek coffee.
The waitress did not believe me when i said they're all for me.
I feel her gaze as she keeps observing me to see if I am serious.
I picked up these late night coffee habits from my Greek friends. They introduced me to the cafes.
It made sense. We were too young to get into bars.
Cafes are more upscale than sitting in a park with a hidden Old E.
As you sit in a Greek cafe you begin to notice things.
Frappes light and sweet. Plates of french fries. Loud conversations.
If you're older you keep playing with a set of beads. Loudly swinging them in your hands.
I ask my friend Maria to pick me up one when she goes to Greece in a month.
She beams as every Greek becomes excited when an outsider picks up an appreciation for Greek culture.
It's their second favorite thing behind reminding you Greeks invented civilization.
Months later I too am in a cafe, having mastered the lackadaisical skill of the komboloi.
At least twice an evening at the cafe I have to inform passerbys that i do not speak Greek.
However I learn that Maria bought me a beautiful komboloi and people have to stop to appreciate it.
I become attached to the komboloi. It helps me through stressful moments as I use it to center me. Either by rubbing the beads or moving it within my hand. The sound of the beads hitting one another is soothing. It is one of my most priced possessions and one of the most meaningful gifts bestowed upon me.
Years later Maria marries my other friend George and I find myself surrounded by friends in a Greek village on a Greek island. The music and dancing continues all night and the food does not stop leaving the kitchen.
I overhear someone saying that George's cousin makes small trinket boxes and I immediately ask how much.
At first I'm told fifty Euro. George sitting near us chimes in "He's one of my closest friends, give him a good deal." The price falls to fifteen.
A month later George hands me the box. Immediately I know what to do.
I keep my komoboloi in that box.
A gift Maria gave me sitting in an item that ties me to George's island and that wonderful wedding.
A poetic couple's gift.