How helpless I feel with a full cup of coffee and the urge to sneeze.

“I got a full, doctor and psychiatrist-recommended, fully-functional human being requirement of 8 hours of sleep last night. It rained today and the autumn wind nibbled at the edge of my turtleneck and flirted with the goosebumps sliver of skin above my ankle boots. 

The night before that, I fell into the company of bar flies, procrastinating college students, and penniless writers and went to bed at 2:30 to wake up at 7:15. It looked like a country song: sunny and 75 with girls in short shorts carrying overpriced sugary bean water in cups with a green mermaid printed on the side

Not that it matters what the weather was like – welcome to October in the Midwest. But thus begins the cycle of waking and wanting.   

I take my coffee like myself.  Hot and slightly bitter.  

I take my tea the same way.  Stronger than it needs to be. 

And yet I can wake up in the morning without actually drinking what’s in the mug that warms my hands.  It’s the experience.  It’s the standing in line at the coffee shop, admiring the way the barista expertly pushes buttons, pulls levers, and drips coffee into paper cups but not envying how early they had to get up to do so (they have to be earlier to work than even I!).  It’s simply carrying it to class and having something comforting to wrap your fingers around, the warmth slithering to your veins. It’s the smell and knowing what you have to look forward to, the anticipation of putting the mug to your lips and feeling the slight tink of the ceramic against enamel. 

Take it a step further. It’s the first sip that burns the same place on your tongue over and over, forgetting how hot it was the day, week, month before.  It’s the bitter bite of the flavenoids on the back of your tongue and the churning of your stomach as the acidic coffee hits the chyme. It’s the jitters that course though your fingers and the shake of the pen as you take notes for your caffeine-logged brain to register later.

Like all things, the experience is almost better than the thing.  The relationship is always better than the person.  The person is imperfect and selfish, a student and a tutor with pimples on her nose because she was too tired to wash the makeup off, a student teacher with too little motivation and time to invest in things other than the class schedule.  People are messy but it’s the relationship itself that makes it worth it.  

Coffee leaves stains but it’s the experience that I need.”

She nodded, satisfied as her eyes flitted across the lines once more.  One hand slid on the keyboard to publish the post and the hand wrapped tightly, possessive, and slightly neurotically around a mug of black coffee that glimmered seductively in the low lamp light.

The experience, indeed. big_thumb_f58f2692810eb6f9a6f06f3d5224aea5