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Short Story 21

Updated: May 8, 2023

Morning Coffee


We drink coffee every morning, but today was different. I entered the kitchen and prepared to do what I always did, reaching into the cupboard taking down two mugs. I stopped, my eyes fixated on the one in my left hand. Pale blue with the word, ‘a cup of stress always helps me relax’ impressed into the ceramic, a matte cream. I put the one in my right back up on the shelf without looking at it. Auto-pilot brought me to the coffee pot. Here I set the mug before taking the empty pitcher to fill it at the fridge.


I had to stop myself. I was used to filling it to the top, but now there wasn’t any point. I brought the water to the line with the number four beside it. Going back, I poured it into the reservoir. I may as well buy a single serving coffee pot or at least something smaller. I wasn’t a big coffee drinker on my own. I usually only had one cup in the morning.


Opening the cabinet directly in front of me I take out a new filter and the can of coffee grounds. It was nothing fancy, just a generic brand of standard medium roast. The budget had never been big. We had a few bags of flavored and every now and then we would splurge on fresh ground, but right now I didn’t feel like anything other than normal, plain, medium roast. That bit of something that felt constant and unchanged.


The top of console lifted like a hinge allowing me to put in the brown paper filter. Shortly thereafter, I took off the plastic flexible coffee can lid taking out the clear plastic scoop we had gotten from something else, something I couldn’t remember. I dumped one whole scoopful into the filter shutting the top turning it on.


Putting this away I took out a loaf of sourdough bread. It was pre-sliced, the kind you can find down any grocery store aisle. I had been trying to eat better, I had even started eating vegetables with breakfast, but today I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was eat something comfortable.


I took out the old toaster I had stashed away, plugging it in. Taking two slices I plopped them in pushing down the lever just as the coffee pot was giving the soft satisfying sound of interior percolation.


I reached for the butter we always left on the counter sliding it toward the toaster, and then got a knife and a small plate setting them beside it. The world felt remarkably quiet as I stood waiting for things to finish themselves. There was nothing else for me to do then stand there and wait. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the quiet. But what could I do? I could scream, I could yell and cry, but that wouldn’t help anything. Besides, I couldn’t manage to. Nothing wanted to come out. I could turn on the television or the radio, but I didn’t want to move. It wasn’t a part of my routine, that wasn’t my job.


Old echoed questions came to my mind at the thought. Things that were said every morning. Words like good morning or how did you sleep? The toast popped up. I had to shake myself to remember what I was doing. Taking them out I buttered every corner, there couldn’t be a place without. The thick pasty yellow began to melt against the heat of the bread staining it a deeper brown. When I had finished I put two more slices in. I wasn’t hungry, but I was going to eat them. Why? Because I had to.


The coffee was done by now. I went back to the fridge taking out the creamer. It was hazelnut. I was supposed to get the fall flavor last week, but I had forgotten. I took it to the mug putting in about what seemed to my eye as two tablespoons, before setting it beside the pot pouring the dark liquid in after it. At once the two melded together, forgetting their previous existence, becoming something that couldn’t be separated.


I don’t know how long I stared into the mouth of the mug only called out of my head when the second set of toast popped out hot and ready for butter. Gathering them and putting them on the plate with the others I got my mug and went to the table putting the ceramic in front of me.


Without thinking, I lifted a piece of bread taking a bite, not particularly looking at or thinking of anything, feeling nothing. The rough texture began to tear up my mouth, the butter barely lightening the impact. Taking the mug, I raised it to my lips.


“Didn’t sleep well?” I replaced the mug, looking across the table. He was there as I remembered him last.


With that face with just that little bit of morning stubble and bed head that always seemed oddly stylish. His eyes smiled at me, so mischievous.


“I guess that’s to be expected. But you shouldn’t keep it all bottled in, I thought we had talked about that.”


I couldn’t speak, my mouth parting without anything passing through. He stood coming around to me wrapping his arms around mine, his head resting on my shoulders.


“It’s okay to cry sometimes. To be sad. To miss someone. But you have to remember it’s not goodbye forever, only goodbye for now.”


My throat was so tight. I wanted to talk to him. There was so much I wanted to say. So many things I hadn’t been able to before the end.


“So let yourself be sad for a little while, and then be happy again. Smile and laugh, and live a beautiful long life, and know that I’ll be waiting for you, on the other side of all this, in eternity.”


His voice, his breath, my heart ached hearing it. To hold him like I used to. To speak with him. It was too much to hear it again, and yet too little. I raised my hand.


“I love you.”


I pressed my hand where his arm had been feeling it pass through to my chest knowing without a doubt that he had never been there. That he was gone, gone beyond anywhere I could reach or go in this body. Tears collected in my eyes, my fingers wrapped around the body of the mug, his mug. I lifted it to my lips and took a mouthful as I began to weep and truly realized, that I would never see him here again.




End



Thank you so much for reading everyone!!



Prompt Sentence: We drink coffee every morning.


Word Count: 1109


©DecemberKnight 2022


Special thanks to Johnmark Smith from Pexels for the use of the image!


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