Ebony and ivory: coffee and cream, the greatest of life’s many combinations. I’m no coffee expert; in fact, I enjoy my burned, buy by the 18-pack Keurig cups just as much as any cup. It’s the ritual that matters.
Early mornings when the lamps are still brighter than the sun through the blinds, my eyelids crust with resentment at being woken from my slumber. Through the grog, I try to enjoy my morning. When I sit down with my cup, still swirling with creamer, I begin to feel the stirrings of life in my brain and my heart. The smell reaches up to comfort me. “It’s all right. You can handle this day.”
The taste doesn’t matter as much as the warmth and the sting of caffeine in my blood. Every sip resembles moments when coffee tipped my brain into something great and prodded it from its contented silence.
I remember days at my writing desk, spread across years, sipping on coffee and feeling jitters of excitement as my fingers tap keys. Stories were made with coffee at the helm.
I remember wandering through bodies much taller than me as I sniffed the church coffee, drowned in powdered creamer and inordinate amounts of sugar. The coffee’s smell, the coffee’s taste suffused me with warmth, with willingness as the songs rang through the auditorium to start out Sunday morning.
I remember cold winter mornings on porches with clammy hands on porcelain mugs. And all these experiences enrich the sip.
It’s the ritual that matters, and a morning without this ritual is a morning destined for sadness and disappointment.
After my bout with the flu, my relationship with coffee was rocky. I wasn’t sure if I trusted it in my body, so I embarked on my journey to work without its aid. My mistake went unnoticed through many lashings-out, many moments of contemplating my own misfortune and poor choices in employment.
When I reignited the coffee ritual, all these problems were dust in the wind. I could handle them, and I could handle the extras.
With coffee, I can handle anything.