While spring cleaning my house, I came across an old short-story of mine entitled “Coffee”. As I read the atrocious writing, I remembered how long ago I wrote it. Then I remembered what happened as a result of that story: my boyfriend broke up with me after reading it, leaving me for a fictional character based on an office mate. Writers always walk the fine line between truths and fiction because they expose truths with fiction.
His loss… your gain.
One thought crossed my cluttered mine as I closed the door, Get yourself some coffee. That one clear thought drove me to the coffeehouse, because when I got there, I couldn’t remember getting in the car. What I did remember, with crystal clarity, were the events that pushed me through the door.
My mind again recycled the recalled events, but I reigned them in before I broke down. I needed to get coffee and couldn’t do that if I was bawling. Instead, I focused on getting out of the car and ordering a cup of coffee. Concentration on this task became the drill sergeant that kept my emotions in check. The coffee became my sole focus.
“Large coffee, for here, please,” I ordered from the young server behind the counter.
He kept staring at me funny, giving me the creeps, so I started looking around for a table. He said something I didn’t hear, and then handed me a to-go cup. He was really starting to creep me out, so instead of asking him to repeat himself or demanding a regular cup, I scurried to the creamer station to doctor it the way I wanted it.
My thoughts started running wild like children let out to the playground for recess as I stirred my coffee. Events streamed through my mind, causing me to relive that terrible hour I want so desperately to forget.
Tears started streaming down my cheeks. I just didn’t care anymore. The incident I left at home just kept replaying on a loop. The server walked up to me and handed me a napkin.
When I looked up at him quizzically, he said, “We are closing now. I’m sorry to have to tell you this while you are crying, but you need to leave.” As he said that last word, he lifted the napkin towards me.
I took the napkin and wiped my face, realizing now why I received the to go cup. I got back in the car without even thinking about where I was going. I ended up back at home.
Standing in front of my door, fear kept me from opening the door. Every emotion was still bubbling through my veins. I sat down on the porch instead and drank my coffee. I would have stayed there, out on the porch all night, but the urge to relieve myself drove me through the door.
The apartment was empty. There was no note. Not that I expected anything else, but the emotions I felt from the lack of his presence surprised me. I wanted to fight, I wanted to prove my anger was worthy of his understanding. With him gone, my wants became as fruitless as a dead tree.
His toothbrush was gone, as were his clothes. I had to face the facts now. He wasn’t coming back. Now, the hard part: surviving the silence of the empty apartment with my thoughts still running through my head as stallions across the plains.
What got me so mad? I don’t even remember now. All I remember was that I was mad the moment he walked through the door. No, wait, I was mad before that. I was mad at work. What made me mad at work? Right, Maria asked me if I wanted to date the guy across the hall because he asked her if it was considered fraternizing. She asked me before she gave him an answer, to keep him from asking should I want it to keep him at bay. But I wanted him to ask, but I couldn’t let him ask because of my boyfriend. I didn’t want my boyfriend anymore, so I got mad enough to make him leave. Now I wish I could get him back.