The Best Coffee Ever.

coffee-1711431.jpg

“No, you have to pour more in.”
“This is okay. You don’t want to use too much.”
“The color is off.”
“I’m getting there.”
“Okay, I think it is time to stir.”
“Yeah, I think so.”

The elves were perched upon his old coffee mug. Together they were stirring the creamer in with all their collective strength. Their small hands gripping the wooden spoon, careful not to fall into the steaming liquid concoction below.

“What do you think?”
“It looks good.”
“Yeah, that looks to be the right combination.”
“We better go.”
“Yeah, he’ll be up soon.”

The man walked into his dimly lit kitchen, rubbing his eyes. His glasses were propped up over his brow. He stood in the doorway, clothed in his usual plaid pajama pants & v-neck undershirt. Every morning was the same. He came into the kitchen & mindlessly pressed the button on the coffeemaker. Then he watched the precious coffee fall into the pot, always anxious for the first cup.

His coffee was waiting for him. Confusion swept over him. He always had to make his own coffee. His knew his wife & children were still asleep. It would be a few hours before he had any company, even the dog remained curled up. He slowly walked in to investigate. It had the perfect coloring. He timidly touched the side of the cup. It was hot.

Within his peripheral, he noticed movement out on the back lawn. When he looked out there, he saw nothing. The man unlocked the door & stepped out into the calm morning air. He smiled & shook his head. He went back inside & enjoyed the best cup of coffee he ever had.

The End.

or

When he stepped outside, the man noticed tiny footprints. There were a few blades of grass that were trampled just so. He noticed a slight iridescent glow to those peculiar blades. The footprints went across the lawn into his wife’s rose bushes. The man smiled. He hadn’t thought about them since he was a child.

The End.

*previously posted

Advertisements

Finding A Smile In Anything

sisters-1287321.jpg

Finding a smile in anything
She laughs in colorful brightness
A flash of pure happy thoughts
The cool confidence in its lightness
A giggle to the approaching Summer
3 months of adventure lie ahead
You’re wanting passive, demure kids
Mine will cackle, make you walk the plank

The Devil Is In The Details

lady-865086.jpg

The devil is in the details; at least that’s what they always say to me.  We’re always fighting back, against the grain. Do they know what they’re doing to us? Pressure like this can kill you.  Yes, there’s the off the chance you’ll become a diamond, though the odds are never in your favor. But you have to keep fighting. No one is contented when you surrender.  It is never going to get any easier. They will never believe in you. This is our lot in life. This is what we have to look forward to for the rest of this life. We weren’t born kings or any sort of nobility. We are who we are.  Within that truth, we must find a way to emerge and triumph.

I spend my days walking the land searching for something which may not exist in the first place. I watch the people going about their lives around me. I see the joy in their faces. It reflects from the life they have found for themselves. Mothers pushing children on an afternoon walk.

Is it jealousy brooding within me? I yearn for a simple domestic life. I would like to quit this life on the road. I have lived the gypsy life for too many years. I find myself questioning my own desires. Will I tire of being in one spot too long? The answers to my search do not seem to be available. Life is something to be lived in order to even find those answers. This is just as frustrating as the search in the first place.

I leave those pretty people to their lives. It is out of respect for what they have found. It is a great thing for them. I will keep on searching for my own treasure.

I mean, do I want to complicate my life? Do I want to spend the majority of my life having someone else dependent on me and my abilities? That is a scary thought. Why would I do that to someone? I am not known to be the kindest person in the world, but damn. That borders on cruel and unusual punishment. I am who I am. I’m not proud of that, but it is a fact that I’m coming to terms with. All I’m saying is that it would be better if I stayed away from the rest of the human race. I’m better alone. People seem to be happier when they are away from me. I’m not happy that I’m a pariah. It isn’t simple aesthetics. A shave and a haircut will not alter this equation. A shower and fancy cologne will not make people want to gravitate in my direction. It is how it is and let us embrace it before someone gets their feelings hurt.

Exhale. You get yourself so worked up these days. Is it worth it? C’mon, get out of that bed. We have to get moving. There’s a world out there that hasn’t taken time to notice we haven’t joined in yet. We need to put it on a notice of our own. Take your time, let’s do things right. That’s it, two feet on the ground. Baby steps will lead us to where we need to be. We can do this. Slip your glasses on. Chug some of that water. Let’s get some more of that water.  Let’s go get some coffee into you; black. We don’t have time to waste on that fancy crap. We need to get ready to face the sun that’s been burning for several hours already. We’re going to make it, just you wait and see. They won’t know what hit them.

This will be a great day. Pick out your best outfit. The one that makes you feel the best, the most confident. Then we’re going to scrub away the past. You’ll come out of the shower fresh and new. Visualize being the greatest version of yourself. Make sure you see it first, so you’ll believe it. See what it is that will leave them speechless. This is our chance. This is our time. Let’s just add the finishing touches now.

Pull on those boots. Slip on those sunglasses, with one final glance through the vanity.  Will today be the day?

Silent Elephants

office-581131

Our days flowed into each other. Typing away our best in the daily routine. I couldn’t help but have a sly smile on my face. I don’t know what you wanted from me. I merely tried my best. You were never outwardly hostile to me, but it felt that way. It made me feel like I was the bad guy in every argument. I just wanted to live in peace. I just wanted to find a balance in this world with you as my central pivot. Why is that such a hindrance to you?

I felt the rush of your presence. I hadn’t noticed you come upon me. I had been focused on typing up my report. You just hovered behind me, watching me silently type. The only sounds were the click clacking of the keys and the soft hum of the space heater beneath my desk. At some point I became aware of you, but I made no effort to cease my typing. I needed to complete this project and get out of the work spaces. I had spent too many tireless hours here and it was time to recharge my constitution.

“How much longer?”

“This is my last page.”

“Do you want to meet downstairs when you’re finished?”

“Sure.” I was exhausted. “But only one.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah, this project is just stressing me out.”

“We don’t have to.”

“It’s okay.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’ll be done in a few. I will meet you down there.”

There was something clearly wrong with us, but I could never figure it out. The tension was killing me. There was the silent elephant crowding us out of the room. Perhaps one day it would force us to actually talk about the issues at hand. I guess until then we would continue this pantomime of a life.

The Sunset: Part I

vw-386526.jpg

 

It was a quiet night. It seemed like they were all like that. Nights began to blend together into a grand depressing blur. I liked it that way. I felt a sense of security when it was dark and raining. I never listened to uplifting music.  I don’t even know what it would be if I did. It was always Dylan, Waits or someone equally as mellow. Happiness never really felt right and that, I believe, is why she left me.

I stepped out of the café with my usual black coffee, my breath rising into the air. San Francisco was a somber city. We complimented each other well. The bay looked frigid, still and heartless. I had missed her. I always found some sort of inspiration to write while sitting silently on her shores. I know I’m a pathetic soul. I have a bay as my muse. Some writers have gorgeous, sensual women; I only have a body of water. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I’m grateful I have a muse at all.

The streets were empty at this late hour. The city and I were alone once again. It was freeing to walk the streets in solitude. I guess you could say it was the happiest moment I could hope for in a day. Does that sound a little sad? Maybe it does. But it was realistic.

I pulled my scarf tight and began the walk back to my place. I lived in the Sunset. It was a humble little place off Parnassus, just down the hill from UCSF. It was a good, quiet neighborhood.

My head was finally clear. It had been so long; I couldn’t remember the last time I could think straight. This was the first time in years my body was free of the strain of alcohol. After so much chaos, it felt comforting to have such a simple life. I felt drained of all the drama, yet I felt whole. It was as if the poison had run its course and left my body.

I walked slowly on these nights. I didn’t want these moments to end. I was drawn to the darkness of the city. San Francisco had a soul with many shadows. Those shadows protected me and comforted me. I thrived within the darkness.

I’m not actually the loner I sound like. I only wish I was. I have friends who refuse to leave me alone. Every so often they won’t even call; they just come over to my apartment. James and Scott were the worst. Those two always want to take me out to the clubs. They never listen to mean drug me out all the time. I don’t know when they expected me to write. This night was doomed to be the same as all the others once I heard the knock.

“What do you want?” I shouted back through the door.

“Open the door, Q”

That’s me. I’m Q. It’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you another time.

“James, I’m not going out tonight. I need to stay here and write.” I should never have come back to the apartment. I was safe at the coffee shop.

“Open the door, Q. We just want to have a drink with you.”

I knew this night would not be that simple. Complications always occurred with these two. Why the hell did I open the door? I’ll never know the answers to these questions.

“Hey man, good to see you.” Scott is so full of shit. I can see right through his innocence. He’s smooth, always trying to make you feel good before he presents his genius plan he just concocted. It’s painful, really. What is even more painful is that I’m weak and I always fall for it?

“Whatever.” I was still not going to trust them until they were gone. At least they offered me a beer when they came in. I mean, it’s the least they could do.
I was sure they were planning on ruining my night anyway.

“No thanks. I’m still not drinking.”

“Right.” Scott said in a slightly sarcastic tone.

“Man, its just one drink. How many times do we get to sit around and have a beer anymore?”

So we sat around and finished off the twelve-pack. There was small talk wrapped around the tension hanging in the room. I was waiting for their grand idea to spring forth like a jack-in-the-box. I knew them to be sly and cunning. If I was going to be prepared to counter their antics, why was I drinking?

The next thing I knew we were at the bar. I convinced myself it wasn’t a big deal. It was only a bar downstairs from the apartment. They had The Eagles playing on the juke box in the corner. It was actually rather nice. We had switched to some livelier music at this point in the night. James and Scott had found a way to get me to relax.

You might be thinking this is a good thing. You don’t know these guys. Nothing is ever this simple. They harass me until I give in or they get me drunk and I don’t know any better. The latter is far easier and more effective. The tension had long ago ceased to exist. The scotch was flowing freely and the laughter even more so.

“So we’re catching a plane tonight.”

The laughter abruptly ended. I could hear the needle scratching a record in my head. The silence was truly amazing. I don’t think I have heard such profound silence, before or since.

James had a huge grin spreading out on his face. Scott looked away as soon as James spoke. I kept looking back and forth at both their faces. I should have stayed at the coffee shop. It was quiet. I was alone. I should have tried to write there.

“Now, who do you think is taking a flight?” I asked, already knowing the answer. I hung my head waiting for their response.

“We are.” Scott said, still looking away, trying to both answer and avoid the question.

These two monkeys had killed all the joy we had established during the evening. The silence which had once lingered had returned in a hurry.

Scott turned back to fully face me. Somehow he had gathered himself and regained his composure.

“Q, you’re coming with us.”

“The hell I am.”

“You have nothing to do here. This place makes you miserable. When was the last time you took a vacation? All you do is sit in those damn cafes and read. If it’s a good night, you’ll write a few pages in one of your depressing stories. You’re coming with us.”

“Q, c’mon, you need to get away from here,” Scott said, trying to soften the impact. “Come have some fun with us.”

“Where are we going?” My wall was beginning to crumble and they knew it. They came around me, putting their hands on my shoulders. I really hate it when Scott and James get those goofy grins on their faces. The aggravation levels rise to monumental heights. They were aware of this as well. They knew getting touchy-feely with me would annoy the hell out of me.

“We’re going to take a trip to Arizona.” Scott said it slow and deliberately. I put my hand to my head, covering my eyes.

“Arizona? What the hell do I want to go out there for?”

“Seriously dude, please listen to us. You need to take some time and get out of this rut you’ve got yourself in.”

“We’re only trying to help you.”

I tried to sleep on the plane, but it was useless. My mood had not lifted. I was still very annoyed I had been duped so easily. I was mostly upset with myself. I knew I should never have had that drink with them. My sobriety had been coming along so well. About a month before I had taken a trip to the ER after vomiting up blood. The doctors firmly suggested I stop drinking.

That was the first time I had slipped up. At first, it was hard not to drink. Drinking had become such a central part of all my activities. I viewed myself as a social drinker. I simply had a lot of friends.

I sat staring out the tiny airplane window into the nothingness of the night. At that point, I didn’t realize how helpful this flight would be to my life. That getting out of California would change my life forever.