I looked the rest of the stash and knew it in my heart that nothing in there would appeal to my palate either. It was while I pondered this disturbing occurrence and my eyes restlessly drifted across the room in search of a solution that my attention fell upon the small dark jar in the corner. I was unconsciously drawn to it, so I let my be drawn; if not my favorite sugary treats – which still didn’t sit well with me – I’d seek whatever tempted me now. The collection of books and trinkets hadn’t seen an addition to it in a while, and this little jar sat mostly concealed in the shadow of the filled up shelves.
The jar was barely within my grasp when I knew what it was.
It had been a birthday present from an old friend, a while back. Upon receiving it, I’d been rather surprised; I wouldn’t expect this friend – or a lot of people, really – to be sending me presents, especially coffee, which I usually refrained from drinking. I hadn’t even opened it, despite appreciating the intricately made container, and had thanked the sender. The email had never been returned.
What made me open the jar – perhaps memories of the sender quietly sipping it while I chatted away on a similarly cold night – I did not know, but what did make me open it, had me breathing in deeply. The rich, bitter taste of coffee had never previously appealed to me, but if there was one truth I could utter in that moment it was that these coffee grains, had the most magnificent fragrance in the world.
I kept breathing it in like a maniac and maybe it was my heightened imagination, but the heady smell spread through the room until it was all I could smell. Putting the jar back down on the shelf, I went and rinsed my kettle, hurriedly filling it up and setting the water to boil.
I held a spoonful of sugar above the entire mixture, but couldn’t toss it in. I looked back at my discarded stash of processed sugar, and as the spoon trembled in the air above the cup…it did not fall in. Instead, I directed my hand back towards the sugar pot where it remained.
The first sip of a drink I had so profusely refused in the past induced a rush of euphoria within me, warming up my insides with its exuberance. I drew it in, sip after sip, not caring that the liquid was scalding my tongue. As I finished my first cup and moved on to my second in a slight fit of annoyance I picked up the nasty sugary things, put them into the shopping bag and dropped the whole thing into a bin.
Suddenly, I was filled with ideas. I pulled out my sketching pad and began to feverishly draw, switching between the charcoal and the cup, working like I would never get the chance to create something worth looking at again.
Time lost its importance as I kept drinking the mixture, and sketching. It was only when my phone rang that I stretched my neck to locate it. The movement hurt some, but I ignored it and reached for the phone. It was five in the morning. A little shocked at the quick passage of time, I decided there were enough sketches for one night. My breath smelled like coffee, with an aftertaste I could’ve skipped on, but it didn’t matter much. I flipped through the pages and came to a startling conclusion.
My sketches were filled with people, but not just any other people. In my coffee-fueled bout of inspiration, I truly did believe all those people were my own creation, but they weren’t. Instead, it was everyone I didn’t talk to anymore, all busy indulging in some sort of dessert except the last one. The last held a sketch of me, and the person who had gifted me this coffee. The setting wasn’t familiar at all, but everything else from the crow’s feet to the coffee jar was a reality.
I became cognizant of my heart thumping rapidly against my chest, and took more than just a few deep breaths to calm it down, but it just wouldn’t. I hated that feeling and wished it would go away but if everything I had wished for had come true, we wouldn’t be here. I longed for a taste of familiarity, after gazing at all those people who were no longer a part of my life.
Unfortunately, everything familiar now lay in the trash, and I was left with the bitter-sour taste of the coffee.