I think you know that I love you. The truth is, I didn’t at first. I think someone had me try a cup of you in college to get through an “all nighter.” It was only later that I realized most “all nighters” were for lazy people who only studied last minute. But, they said you’d get me through it and get me through it you did. However, at first, I didn’t like the taste of you. You were bitter. You tasted how I guessed a jar full of cigarettes might or a jar full of pennies. Gross.
But, much like love blossoming during an arranged marriage, you surprised me. One day you tasted better. And then the next and the next and the next. The same thing happened with alcohol. I remember trying one of my father’s beers as a kid and thinking, “YUK! How do people drink this crap? What idiots.” But, my love grew there too. You, though, Coffee, you are special. You always will be.
Coffee, you became an inextricable part of my life. I’d wake up and I couldn’t wait to have you. I’d fire up the coffee machine and just the smell of you made me feel good. I’ve tried all your different brands and blends – italian coffee, espresso, spanish coffee, Starbucks, and just about everything from Trader Joe’s. I like the Trader Joe’s version of you -specifically- because they make you grind it up yourself and somehow that makes me feel closer to you. It’s intimate — the grinding of your own bean.
Sometimes you come with a friend. Your friends are always so nice and lovely. They never make me feel bad about myself, only good. Sometimes you bring a warm bagel for the company. A warm bagel, fresh out of the oven, it goes down feeling like it’s going to cover your insides with an expensive duvet. As travel insurance, I take a couple of sips of you to make sure everything is nice and toasty for the ride. You make it comfortable like flying in Business Class. Other times, it’s a piece of coffee cake that stops by with you. Coffee cake – a hint of your flavor with a halter top of confectioner’s sugar and a spongy, yellow cake bottom, all run through with cinnamon. (Phew, it’s a miracle you’re not illegal in some bible belt states.) Sometimes you come simply with just a slice of rye bread shimmering through with a rush of caraway seeds. Rye is the tabula rasa to your complexity. She’s the super model with a brain; she’s like a personal UN convoy meet and great with Angelina Jolie and I know that you like to visit with her from time to time. I’m just happy that I get to join.
Even with all of that, all of those good times – still – things must end. You see, you’ve got a hold of me. It’s a suffocation of the heart that’s leading me to believe that I can’t make decisions without you. You’re controlling me and while I love you, I don’t like the feeling. To quote one of those beautiful, cowboyish, gays that ride up there in the mountains…
“I CAN’T QUIT YOU.”
I’ve tried before. There was that time I participated in that sailing trip around the San Juan islands. Day three without coffee caused me to scream at a young, ginger-haired boy, “Just grab the feckin’ sail, kid. It’s not rocket, feckin’ science. Just grab the bloody sail and pull.” The boy grabbed the sail and the ship was righted. Of course, much like a needle scratching on a record at a very good dance party, the minute I finished my tirade, the wind subsided. The captains of the boat and the other crew members turned to look at me. Their eyes said, “Did you just kick the baby Jesus? You realize that boy has the soul of a lamb and the eyes of a crying puppy and you just yelled at him??!!” The captains pulled over the ship and got me “cowboy coffee” from Canadian customs…because no one could take another outburst from uncaffeinated me. I swirled my cowboy coffee, which is just coffee grinds straight in a cup of hot water and go, and I could literally feel the monster lurching out of my forehead slowly recede into that darker place inside of me. (If you’re curious, it’s down near my a**hole.) That’s where he lives now. That’s where he remains – deep, inside. He says, it’s quiet down there.
So, you see beautiful, angel, coffee-love, we are hurting each other. Well, I don’t know how in the feck I’m hurting you, but you are definitely hurting me. It’s time to show you who -just who- is the master of her own domain. And yes, if this were a Seinfeld episode I’d outlast them all. Even if the coffee version of John F Kennedy Jr were to swoop in and wrap me up in a frothy embrace.
I will best you, coffee. I think this distance will make us stronger. When we do come back together, I won’t need you in that crazy way that makes everyone uncomfortable and you’ll have a little more respect for me. You know, for being without you for so long.
When the time is right, we will meet again. It will be wholesome. It will be dignified. It will be glorious. As they say in the “self help” business, “When you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you…then you are to be its slutty, little, love slave like Maggie Gyllenhaal was for that 80s actor in that movie where she peed all over the place and carried paper in a very strange fashion.”
Until then, coffee, my muse. Until then.
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