Andre plays classical guitar at the How You Bean,a coffeehouse in Boulder Colorado.He plays for tips,but really he plays for Eva,Queen of Lattes,who works behind the counter.

在美国科罗拉多州的波尔得有一家叫做How You Bean的咖啡馆,而安德烈就在这里演奏古典吉他。他的表演看上去是为了挣小费,但实际上是为了在柜台上工作的“拿铁咖啡皇后”——伊娃。

It takes him a while to notice her.Andre is drawn to a well-defined type,oliveskinned girls with robust features and dark eyes.


His first night at the Bean,Eva barely registers.She is slim,red-haired,freckled,a quick entry to his Not-My-Type file(he does not do this consciously,but his filters are ruthlessly consistent).He plays for two hours,to small applause but several smiles,plus sixteen dollars in his guitar case.

他在How You Bean咖啡馆演出的第一个晚上,伊娃几乎就没注意到他。她体型柔细,一头红发,脸上还有些雀斑,因而很快便被他归为“不适合自己”的一类(他并不是有意这样做的,但他的衡量标准时一如既往的,丝毫不夹杂着情面因素)。他每晚演出两小时,有些观众会对他的演出回以微笑,但掌声很少,演出末了,他的吉他盒里能多出16美元来。

“Hi,Andre?”It was the tall,red-haired barista.”Do you want your drink?You get a free drink.”


“Sure.How about a double latte?I’ll pick it up after this last song.”


“That was great”says the barista.”I will leave your drink on the table.”


“Thanks.”He gathers his tips,lowers his guitar into the case,then turns to find the most perfect latte he has ever seen.


It sits in a tall,narrow glass.The bottom layer is four inches of steamed milk;the middle an inch-wide stripe of espresso,the color of charred wood.The top is two inches of milk foam,edging past the brim like a snow bank.Only once has Andre seen such a thing.In a cafe in Florence,on a tour of Italy after his first year in college.


Andre plays there again the following week,and he finds himself slipping up,on a piece he has played since he was six.No one notices.But it bothers him.He understands that perfection is not,logocally speaking,attainable.But if you aren’t going to at least chase it,what’s the purpose?


He knows what it is.Too many of his focal points are occupied by the image of Eva’s latte and Eva herself.He takes an early break,and requests his free drink.


“Double latte?”she asks.


“Exactly the same.”


She smiles.She clicks the grounds into a disc and slides it into the machine.Andre stands at the counter,watching.


“What do you call it?”He asks.


Eva twitches her lips in thought “Pretty-style”




She laughs.”It is the only expression everyone seems to understand.”


She pours the milk,then lays in the foam,till it comes to  an inch from the top.Then she brings the shot cup to the edge of the glass.


“Wow!You pour it freehand?No spoon?”


Eva smiles,keeping her eye on the hot brown trickle.


“You are a goddess of the caffeine arts.”says Andre,taking his prize.


Eva is protective of her true affections,rarely gives them out and is very clear on the type of man who buzzes her circuits.He is big,a barrel-chested guy who could squeeze her to a pulp.In the old high-school fantasy game,her picks would be Russell Crowe,a young Sean Connery.


Slight,effeminate Andre doesn’t stand a chance until he starts playing.The deftness of his fingering captivates her.His choice of material is good.He also knows a good musical joke,smugging a quote from Hotel California into a Granados tango.She’s the only who notices.


Eva is a piano student.Her teachers love her playing,and encourage her to give recitals.But her ears tell her differently.She knows that perfection if a ruthless master,but she wants to be at least somewhere in the county before she exposes herself to an audience.She tells no one about her studies not even her closest friends and when she hears someone like Andre,her feelings are confirmed.


She thinks it should be Andre to ask her out first,after all.


Another night,she is stacking chairs on tables when Andre stops by,guitar case in hand.


“Is there something different tonight?”


“Sure,I added some cardamom.”


“I like it,”he says.




A silence drifts in like a fog.Lots of room for someone to ask someone out on a date.Maybe they could meet for a cup of coffee.


“Well,”he says,”I gotta go”


“Goodnight,”says Eva.She lifts another chair.


Andre sits on his couch.It is getting worse!That look on her face.”She is so popular.It seems like half the town knows her.What am I doing even thinking about it?Oh,Jesus,Andre,read the fucking music.:


Eva continues the cardamon,to no discemible effect.If anything,Andre seems more distant,even vaguely annoyed.Then he’s gone,replaced by a guy named Martin.


The next three months are winter.The short days and foul weather conspire to drive Eva into the ground.Even the snow,which used to excite her.Now it reminds her of lost chances,some connection she has failed to make.She spends hours in her rehearsal room playing Schubert sonatas and Chopin nocturnes.


On the first day of March,she sits in a corner with her biology textbook.A shadow comes over her table like a stormcloud.The stormcloud is Andre.


“Andre!Where have you been?It is good to seen you.”


“It is good to see you.I have been kind of busy.But today has been a rough day,and I thought,what you really need is one of Eva’s perfect lattes.But I guess you are not on?”


“No.But I’ll make you one.Be right back.”



Eva plays piano at the university in Boulder,Colorado.She plays for grades,but really she plays for Andre,King of Guitar,who listens from the front row.