a hot cuppa coffee

for little old me?


It’s one of those mornings where you have to grip your ceramic mug real hard to stop your hands from shaking, your fingers from anxiously tapping. The kitchen counter, the drawers and cabinets and the vast marble island. One of those tireds where you feel like your eyeballs might drip like hot wax right out of their sockets and onto the hardwood floor. They’ll pool there in a thick goo and dry up.

You’ll sit in your living room with slippered feet and greasy roots and forget why you’re still up in the first place. Or why you stayed up in the first place, whichever. Crumbs of slumber are nestled in the creases of your eyes. Non-dairy creamer is floating at the top of your cup. You forgot to stir or didn’t care to, whichever. Your coffee’s lukewarm and the cheap instant stuff anyway. You’ll stare out your window for a while not looking at anything in particular. That vacant stare will return to the living room.

You’ll slowly notice small things around your house. Things that you hadn’t really spent time looking at before. The dusty cracked knick knacks your dad found at garage sales and antique shops and picks up on the side of the road. The porcelain angel with rose-tinted cheeks and chipped wings. A flightless bird. You’ll remember a conversation you had with your dad a few years ago. You told him to stop picking shit up off the street. You’d brought up germs and garbage, and were sure to mention the dangers of tetanus. He laughed and reassured you that he’d gotten all his shots. You had rolled your eyes and crossed your arms. That was so typical of him. You’d sworn he had the same smile on his face when they closed his casket last week.

Your gaze will wander to your bookshelf on the left and aimlessly scan the leather-bound volumes that you put on out display for other people to aimlessly scan. James Joyce. Hemingway. To that small maroon stain on the circular beige rug that your slippered feet sit on. You can’t remember exactly how it got there or what it was that stained the rug such a strange colour. Red wine from New Years? Pasta sauce from that date you had that with that guy with the awful toupee. Tripping over the cat. Things that only the tiredest eyes can see.

A melancholy tune will steal your attention and your focus will return to the window. A robin. The snow outside has slowly begun to melt and pool on the ground in little lakes, only stirred by splashing rain boots. You haven’t seen a robin in months. Must mean springtime. Winter is associated with bad memories. Your unsteady hand signing the final divorce papers. Spending Christmas alone because he got the kids for the weekend. The only thing split custody does is split your heart into pieces.

The red-breasted bird peers into your living room, its head tilted in curiosity. You want to tell it to go away.

You haven’t gone to visit your mother in a while. Every weekend you tell yourself you’ll go see her but the sickly clean smell of the hospital makes you nauseous. You’re a lot like your mother you will realize. She jolts out of bed in the middle of the night asking for your father, too. The nurse just gives her another pill and she falls back asleep. Sometimes when you can stomach it you sit in that room and watch her sleep and you wonder how much she loves her dream world. You had a family once. A husband and a ten year marriage once. A red-brick house and a cat (which lives with you now — your husband never liked Malvolio, anyway).

Your alarm will go off. You’ll hear the beeping as it echoes from your bedroom and is carried down the hallway. Three short beeps that speed up and speedupspeedup like the clock is growing angry with you for hitting snooze. You didn’t need the wake up-call anyway. You were never asleep. Out of your peripheral vision you’ll see the red blur of a bird take off into the morning. You’ll furrow your eyebrows like you do whenever you’re thinking really hard about something. New beginnings.

And you’ll get up off the couch and make yourself some breakfast.