YOUR COFFEE MUG still sits where you left it, half-empty, atop your favorite porcelain, brim smudged with a curious combination of dried froth and pink lipstick. It’s my little testimony, you know, to a life well led and a union I thought was blessed. I never had the heart to move it even as it perches precariously on the edge of our coffee table. That’s how we always liked it, remember? Leaving things the way they were.
Our friends say that what we had was the perfect blend and that our lives revolved around each other, in rhythmic circular dance, like the deliberate cycles of a blender. How little they know about us – about the late night bean roast experiments that have gone awry; about the times we stoked the fire stark naked, enrapt, underneath the haunting aroma of espresso; about the times we argued, silently yet fiercely, in our caffeine-induced haze.
Perhaps it’s too late now.
Looking back, I wonder what did us. Did we drown in those fixes of Irish that have come between us oh so often in the dark of night? Did our hearts lose steam sampling the products of our coffee-making adventures? Or could it be that we simply tired of the radical mood swings, the never-ending choices of whether to wallow in creamy foam or succumb to the murk of black? It doesn’t matter now, does it? Issues like these were never our cup of tea. Perhaps that explains why our unique blend sometimes left an odd aftertaste.
You left in such a hurry. I wish I had the chance to tell you that it was not just ground beans we have been throwing into the mix, but our strengths and weaknesses as well – our humanity; and that should things not work as planned, we could always devote our energies on some other new potion to constantly keep us up and about. But you must have gotten tired of waiting. From where I sit, I can still see your teaspoon stop mid-stir, thin wisps of steam rising from your mug – your Holy Grail – and then you’re gone. You never said so much as a goodbye or thanks. You just went ahead, choking on either the teaspoonful of cappuccino or the bitter words that came out of our mouths.
You used to say in jest: “There’s no sense crying over spilt coffee.” I try to keep that to heart. I try to do with my current fare. But the taste of coffee is only as good as the company we keep. I believe that, for, now, sipping at my saccharin-sweetened frappe, I’m as empty as the chair before me. But here, for the first time since you’ve gone, things have started to make sense. I guess this is my curse – to remain fixated on your mug and its stale content. The steam from it long gone, I cling to the tiniest sliver of hope that your mug and its memories will afford me even a semblance of warmth against the biting cold outside.
For what it’s worth, I think I’m going to wait awhile, keep the pot boiling all night . . . wide awake . . . even if the sun does not come out for a long time.
(over a cup of capp)