I wake up, find a warm thing to sling over my arms, and stumble down the hallway to the kitchen. The old-fashioned percolator sits atop the stove, still filled with yesterday’s grounds. I dump the tiny stream of brown water down the sink and run my fingers inside the stained sides of the basket. Every time I think, “How is coffee oily?”
I run the water in the sink as hot as I can stand it while I wash the basket rod and the pot itself; I rinse out the little plastic cap that dons the pot and wonder when they stopped making those from glass. I place the stainless jug back on the burner and turn it full-crank to hot – in just that little space where it clicks so that the burner won’t go off and on but will heat continuously.
Then, I wait.
During those minutes, I wash dishes and lament about how the one battle I see to have lost in the great food wars between my father and I is the coffee one. How did this happen? How did I cave to drinking those freeze-dried packets that hiss when they open? I vow to rectify this situation with some fresh-ground dark roast when I got out this afternoon. I realize I will probably forget to do so again.
I hear it in that moment, the gurgle, and look to see the elixir dancing for joy at its creation beneath that plastic cap. Just a few minutes now.
I finish up the dishes and pour out the soapy water. Then, I doctor my mug – today’s choice a black, marbled one that holds about 8 ounces. It used to be a part of a pair – this half my father’s – my mother’s half long ago lost to the fate that often befalls mugs in pairs. They’re like the single socks of the kitchen universe.
I drop two of the scantest third-teaspoons of raw cane sugar in the bottom (I’m cutting WAY back on sugar) and open the fridge to that succulent thwack of the seal, grabbing the organic milk from the door in a single swing of the arm. Just a tablespoon there and then back to the fridge.
Finally, I pour. A stream of brown glory slides into the bottom of the mug, and the milk swirls magically to turn it all this into a color named “medium ash brown” if it was on a box of hair dye. I pull it to my nose and sniff. . . my skin gets tingly with it every single day.
My mug and I then journey to the basement where I set him on the stone coasters I bought way back in the late 90s in my first apartment in Harrisburg. He perches there in the midst of bills to be paid and post-its to be noted and tossed. He sits all morning with me, the only companion I need for a morning full of words.
What’s the story of your beverage of choice for writing?
Tell me why that beverage and how you come to have it in the comments below, and I’ll randomly pick one winner who will receive a $5 gift certificate to the local coffee/tea shop of your choice. I’ll give you another entry for every time you tweet, share, or blog about this post (tell me about your shares in the comments below). Contest ends on Sunday, April 8th. Can’t wait to hear about your beverages.