Short story

Coffee Spoons

January 28th, 2020

As if dawn was a slap, the future wakes you up with no compassion.

Each well known thing is about to be foreign, everything you knew is a mystery already. You thought the figure above you was a square but it is relentlessly moving. It becomes a running circle. Ah… it is not a circle but a spiral!
Suddenly, you feel like a forty year old looking at a picture of yourself with a group of strangers you did not even like when you graduated from college. But you are actually just a twenty one year old lying next to your lover with eyes wide open. It is Sunday morning, and you have not graduated nor taken a photograph yet. And you already miss your life. You know you began missing it today. Deep down, you began long ago…

My dizziness makes the ceiling become a spiral, and it reminds me of yesterday’s breakfast. I didn’t have much money so I went to get ice cream… Hard to believe no long ago breakfast was a remarkable part of my days. “Never mind, I’ll get a vanilla cone and this line will be worth the time”, I thought, but the machine was broken. No wonder growing up is noticing everything is, in a manner of speaking, broken! — Pathetic way to realize it!

The memory of the young girl that was barely not a child anymore remains in your mind.

The classic girl that danced ballet, also used to ride her bike for about an hour before taking tap lessons, and visited her grandfather. He used to offer a chocolate saying “There, I have one chocolate for you, it is your size.” Sometimes we would have an ice cream before lunch because that is who he was. He would go out to watch me riding my bike in the distance until I was home just half street far away from his home. Until time melted. Until I started regretting not having that last ice cream when he was still alive.

That may be the reason why I feel the first sip of coffee like a hug. I am not a caffeine addict, I am just craving for the present that goes away as I write, and a cup of coffee is the slowest way of savoring time.

This must be the taste of time, bitter enough for you to feel it but warm, necessary, dark — you can barely see through it yet you can see your reflection at the top of your cup—, supportive, its sapor does not leave your throat, it stays. It is bold, sometimes irritating but still delightful, such as time. Its presence is sardonic, you cannot escape the intoxicating smell.

Coffee has the scent of reality, no fanciful smell is just as sharp. While I looked wistfully at the ceiling of my room, my mom was doing what she always does, trying to bring me back to reality without knowing it, trying to take the pain away from me, from the outside.

You keep silent, because you know you will never be as strong and ‘powerful’ as you are right now. But then again, you could not be more fragile than in this moment. Because you’re looking at life not in the eyes but in the fears — in your fears — in the astonishing apprehensiveness to stop or turn back time.

Stop. Time to get the hug of the day.

An inner voice tells me “get to the kitchen“. The neverending are the three hours breakfasts with my mom, talking, making and drinking coffee. Coffee was there when we lived together.
Most of my tears when my mother moved were because mornings would not be the same. There is no normal person willing to make a ritual out of meals, to spend three hours after breakfast just to drink coffee, two hours after lunch talking. There is no regular person used to do what we did. Nowadays, not even us that much.
People say ‘those were the days’ as if they didn’t know. I said it even though I knew it. I still know it when I see one of those already-missing days.

Pictures in time should exist: moments suspended in space that nobody can see. Maybe they do, and when we accidentally crash with them, we get ‘memories’.

Besides time and the memories — that I hope to keep— coffee was the only one to witness every breakfast, laugh, ‘crying or therapy session’, it is still there every time we miss each other. A cup of coffee is a sweet mystery, it is always the smile of a mother, a deep conversation, the possibility to become friends with strangers, to fall in love, an unexpected goodbye… It is a mix, it does what no person can: it is a witness of the glory days, a saver and giver of memories, and it is still good company. No one can be all of that together.

Looking at my cup of the day, I realize the inner voice leading me to the kitchen that day, helping my mom to bring me back to reality, could have been my future self — today’s me— telling myself I was not wrong at missing my life. Ever since, a future version of myself keeps telling me to wake up, walk, and take the hug of the day.

Coffee softens the slap that wakes us up every morning, and deep down, we get up trying to prevent the present from leaving us alone.