A Coffee For Meg, With Room

There’s a craft to everything — building a shed, tying a lure, digging a hole; if you spend enough time on anything, you end up learning how to do it better. How to do it right. I’ve spent a lot of time making coffee for my Meg, and I know just how she likes it.

First of all, there are the beans. The beans are important.

When we first met, Meg had just moved to the city. She had been in the Peace Corps, and spent the last two years in the Dominican Republic teaching locals in small villages how to build clay stoves. She said it was pretty hot and miserable — her exact words were “it was so humid I had a 22 month afro” — but the one thing that got her through was the coffee. So I always make sure to use beans from the Dominican Republic. She’s never said anything about it, but I’m sure she can tell. After all, when two people care for one another, they share things about themselves without even knowing it. A small smile, a touch of the hand —there’s an unspoken language between just the two of you; a sort of psychic shorthand, where you can communicate your thoughts and feelings without having to say a word. Meg and I had this connection almost immediately. That’s when I knew that she was The One.

It’s weird; I’ve dated women before — my last girlfriend I dated for 2 and a half years, so I’m no slouch in the woman department — but I’ve never known someone quite like Meg. She’s special to me, and I let her know it! If I’m being honest (which I am to a fault) my last relationship ended because I was too introverted, too in my own head — so I make sure to let Meg know how much I care about her on a regular basis. I know that every relationship, no matter how big or how small, is hard work. It’s important to be consistent. Dependable. And lucky for me, Meg is as dependable as they come.

Meg always likes her coffee in the morning at 9am — sharp. I want her to know I’m pulling my weight in our relationship, so even if my day is crazy busy I always make sure to set aside a few minutes to take care of what’s important to me: My Meg! I make sure that her coffee is always at the ready for when she wants it.

Then there’s the ice.

For us hardcore coffee drinkers, those who drink iced coffee are the misfits. The weirdos. The outcasts. Who likes cold coffee? So that first time when I made coffee for my Meg and she told me that she actually liked it iced, I was surprised. Shocked, even! I mean, when it comes to coffee, Meg is as hardcore as they come — I think she’s had at least a coffee a day for as long as I’ve known her — and the fact that she, of all people, liked ICED coffee? Well, that took some getting used to. It wasn’t a deal breaker by any means, but I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t throw me a bit. You think you know someone, and then something like this pops up; a fly in the ointment of our happiness. Sand in the vaseline of our blissful future. But then I then I thought: Hey, most of us barely know ourselves — so how could we ever expect to truly know someone else? I’ve done my best to open up to Meg (and I know she appreciates it) but I’m not going to lie: sometimes our relationship is a struggle. No, it’s not a struggle. I misspoke. It’s a work in progress. We’re a work in progress. Right. That’s more accurate.

It’s important to me that I’m accurate. That’s why I write things down.

I always crush Meg’s ice by hand. That way it melts more evenly, and doesn’t dilute the taste of the coffee. Sometimes if I’m bored I’ll play a fun game with myself where I’ll pretend the ice is the face of anyone who’s ever hurt my Meg. I’ll stab the icepick into the ice over and over, watching it shatter and snap into a million pieces. It’s hard not to smile when I play this game. I do so enjoy working with my hands. It’s satisfying. And good for the soul!

I haven’t told Meg my conflicted feelings about her preference for iced coffee, but hey — maybe I don’t have to. Love is about compromise, and part of that compromise is learning to appreciate someone else’s differences. If you spend the rest of your life with someone else who’s exactly like you, how can you hope to grow? To evolve? You can’t. No; differences between people are good. Necessary, even. I like my coffee hot, but Meg likes hers with ice — and that’s okay. At least we both like it black. Or used to.

When two people are in love, it’s easy to become complacent. The biggest danger to any relationship is boredom; no matter how much you love someone or how much you communicate, the sad truth is that if you’re not careful, things can get stale. Lately there’s been a change — and I’m trying to be optimistic about it, but I’m not sure it’s for the better.

Meg has started asking for room.

It’s worrisome. Is this the beginning of the end for us? Is she trying to tell me something by wanting some room? Am I not good enough? Why would Meg suddenly want something different? Maybe it’s nothing — but, just in case, I’ve been making an effort to step it up and really show Meg how much she means to me and what an important part of my life she is. I mean, look; I’m not some psycho who’s going to start telling her “I love you” in every conversation (and I’d never want us to become like those gross people who sit on the same side of the booth in a restaurant or are constantly sucking face in public) but I think it’s important to show the person you love that care for them as often as you can. So every time I make Meg her coffee (now making sure to leave room for cream) I make it a point to give Meg a compliment: Something about her gorgeous hair, her hip clothes, her many impressive accomplishments that I’m sure she has; this is what people who care about other are supposed to do, right? Give each other compliments? Make each other’s lives better?

But still. She’s been getting her coffee with room for a few weeks now. I’m a little worried.

I’m sure it’s nothing. People change their coffee preference all the time, right? Maybe she’s just switching things up. I can’t let this small change get the best of me. I won’t! I want to bring it up to her, tell her how I’m feeling, but I don’t want Meg to think I’ve suddenly gone crazy — that’s why I took a day off work and followed her around instead. I was overjoyed to see that she didn’t meet up with anyone else — and I even found out that she lives in a building right by me! Bonus! That was an exciting moment. She lives on the second floor, and her curtains are blue; my favorite color. I made sure to write it all down.

Look, all I ever want is to make sure that I can keep making my Meg as happy as she makes me. And my Meg makes me happy. So happy! She’s a ray of sunshine bursting through the clouds. The sweet scent of oranges on the breeze. The soft glow of neon on a rain slicked street. She’s all the little things that make life worth living. My Meg. Isn’t love grand?

There’s a craft to everything — building a shed, tying a lure, digging a hole; if you spend enough time on anything, you end up learning how to do it better. How to do it right. I’ve spent a lot of time making coffee for my Meg, and I know just how she likes it.

***

“Next in line.”

“Hi, I’ll have an iced — ”

“I like your bracelets.”

“What?”

“Your bracelets. They’re nice.”

“Oh. Thanks.”

“Large black iced coffee, right?”

“Uh, yes. With room.”

“With room. Right. Here you go.”

“Thanks.”

“Have a nice day!”

“You too.”