It was a lazy Sunday, and I woke up later than usual. I went downstairs, took the coffee pot and filled it with cold water from the tap, and then I concentrated as I slowly poured it into the coffee maker trying to not spill water all over.
“Sometimes,” I muttered to myself, “you have to watch yourself or else things can spill out where they do not belong.” I tried to not think about the last argument I had with my wife, where the hurtful words poured out and poisoned the air until it became thick and unbreathable.
I measured the grounds into the basket. I made sure the measuring spoon was slightly rounded at the top so that it was strong but not too strong. I closed the basket, put the pot in place, and I turned on the switch. The thick dark liquid began to dribble into the pot, and the aroma of coffee filled the air.
I thought about her again when the machine had dripped a half of a cup of the wondrous liquid in the pot. She would only drink a half of a cup in the morning. It made little sense to me, I’ll admit. Why drink any at all then?
Finally, the coffee maker got noisy as the last bits of steam hit the air because the cold water was no longer feeding into the pot. It would gush, then groan a bit, gush some more, then groan and quit. It was like it was making fun of me, showing my age as I creaked and groaned to get out of bed in the mornings these days. Sometimes, I wonder why, when I know I will get up and be, for all intents and purposes, alone.
I poured the hot coffee, once again ensuring to not spill it, and then I poured in the cold cream. The light cold color mixed with the darker hot color, swirling due to the differing temperatures. I reminisced. I considered how two temperaments from two different cultures mixed together into a union.
Yet, I did not put sugar into my coffee. She always put sugar into her coffee – a lot of sugar. Coffee was bitter, but the cream took the edge off of it. Sugar made it sweet – bittersweet to my mind. Her culture likes sweet and sour, but that was something I couldn’t get used to. Either be sweet or be sour, please! Don’t try to be both!
I drank down the delicious liquid as I tried to wake up, here in this house all alone. It went into my stomach, and almost like magic it filtered into the blood stream and awakened my body and my mind. It revitalized me.
For a number of tumultuous years, marriage seemed like more work than it was worth. At some point, though, it began to revitalize me. It gave me a reason to wake up in the morning. It gave me purpose and reason to go out the door and pursue money and status so I had something to share with another.
Life changes, and things often spiral out of control. I did not ask for the economy to take a nose dive. I did not raise my hand to be laid off. However, it happened. Better me than the other guy, who still had two small kids at home, I consoled myself. However, what was the cost?
They say money is the number one thing couples fight over. I believe it! What could I have done differently, though? After Dad died, things got even more strained, and I found myself with two households to care for when I did not have enough money for one. Yeah, so she could not take it, and she left. “I need to take care of Mom,” she said, but I knew the truth. Our fights were almost daily, and the love we once had was drowned in tears and heartache.
So, there I sat. I was all alone in Dad’s house, just trying to survive day by day. I was drinking coffee, and struggling with how things can be made different.
I drank down the last of that first delicious cup of nectar that was previously filled with the dark and the light and the hot and the cold. It was empty.
I contemplated getting another cup. Maybe I should make it different, I thought, amusing myself at the thought. Maybe I should go with straight black, or even, ghastly, some sugar? Maybe I should drink a completely different liquid altogether?
The phone rang. “Hello?” I asked. It was her.
“I’m coming to see our daughter,” she said.
“Well, that’s good,” I said. “I saw her recently, and it’s good that she sees you as well.”
“I want to see you, too,” she finally said.
“Oh?” My heart stopped for just half a second.
“I want to talk.” Those words are the last that any normal guy wants to hear!
“Anything in particular?” I managed to fumble out of my mouth. Did I even want to hear the answer? Should I just hang up now?
“I miss you,” she blurted out. “I was hoping to see you, if you’re not too busy, that is.” Again, my heart skipped a beat but in the other direction this time. I was a little stunned, to be honest.
“I miss you, too,” I finally managed to get out.
Even if nothing comes of this, I still regard it as a miracle. Meanwhile, I’ll stick to the same coffee I’ve been drinking all along, for it really is what suits me best.