For the Love of Coffee (A Mostly-Fictional Short)

Recently, I received an ominous Facebook message from Jonas Lee, a friend and fellow author. It read: Describe that first cup of coffee in blind man’s detail. This is your daily challenge 🙂 Okay, the smiley face ruins some of the menace. Now, I’m not normally one to take on writing challenges. A) I generally stumble upon them at times that are not conducive to writing and then promptly forget about them. B) I am incredibly insecure about putting “unedited” or “free-” (as in free-thought, not $0) writing out there in the world, because I do not want people judging me based on something I just slapped together in a creative frenzy. But coffee? Surely a writer must jump at the chance to muse on coffee! Ha! I hate coffee. In fact, that silky whore and I have a score to settle… The following is a slightly fictionalized, mostly exaggerated account of my daily interactions with coffee.


My husband crawls out of bed at six-thirty a.m. He knows the shifting weight will probably wake me. Even if it does not, he knows his heavy footsteps, shaking the floor like thunder rattles windows, definitely will. But he doesn’t care. He needs her. Now.

As I leave the warmth of our bed and get ready for the day, I hear her begin to stir. A soft gurgle, a steady babble, a short beep. Her mating call. When I tiptoe to the stairs, her scent greets me at the top. It is the only thing I like about her –natural, nutty, a hint of spice. The aroma grows stronger with every step I take, until finally, at the bottom of the stairs, I can feel it tingle my lungs.

My husband is sitting on a stool, having his way with her on the kitchen counter. His lips press around the edge of his mug, letting her slither over his tongue and slide into his gut. At first, the sight repulses me, reminding me of my few tastes of coffee. Water, flat milk, ground plant –mixed together to create something that, contrary to the barista’s smirking insistence, tasted nothing like chocolate.

Upon a second look, I wonder what my husband tastes. The steam has fogged the bottom half of his glasses, but I can see that his eyes are closed, his hands cradling the mug. A moan escapes his lips, guttural, animal. We don’t call coffee his “mistress” for nothing.

Opening his eyes, he notices my presence in the kitchen and smiles, motioning for me to come closer. I obey, holding in air to avoid his sour breath. He kisses me, and when he pulls away, instinct makes me lick my lips. Her taste lingers in his kiss. Bitter.

We say our goodbyes, me rattling off a honey-do list — Call the leasing agent, Make your doctor’s appointment, Write your grandmother — and him reassuring me — I’ve got this, Have a good day, I’ll have dinner waiting for you.

When he wanders back upstairs, refilled mug in hand, I grab a pen and sticky note. I know that I can never replace her. Caffeine is a drug, and I am merely a woman. But I also know that, while she may warm his stomach and awaken his brain, only I can touch his heart. Today, my touch will begin with a smile, sparked by a poem, stuck to the coffee pot.

I want to be your sugar

crystals melted on your tongue

sprinkled in your coffee

black

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20 thoughts on “For the Love of Coffee (A Mostly-Fictional Short)

  1. Sherrie Miranda says:

    Beautiful piece! I once was your husband when it comes to a caffeine addiction. It was so bad that, one time when I was late for school, I got really upset with the students and they said “Miss, go get your coffee! We can’t stand you like this!” Since then I have given up coffee several times and now mix half decaf, half regular. I try to buy the darkest, strongest most bitter which means “dark roasted,” but it turn out that the longer you roast the beans, the more caffeine that gets burned of, despite the stronger flavor.
    So, I can manage without coffee now, but I prefer not too. Especially if I am subbing. Then I usually have 2 large cups.
    I am glad I am no longer addicted as those caffeine withdrawal headaches are hell, but I do miss that feeling in the morning when you take that first sip that feels so great going down.
    But when all is said and done, I would prefer not to be addicted to anything BUT my hubby.
    Thanks Kate, for a job well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate M. Colby says:

      Thank you, Sherrie! I’m so glad you enjoyed my piece and it brought to mind your own coffee experiences. I have a coworker at the office who is a bit dependent on her morning coffee, and much like her students, sometimes we have to tell her to go get her coffee so she’s less grumpy and can get her morning routine started. It’s quite interesting how deeply tied some people are to the beverage!

      Like

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