Coffee for one

  • Aperture: f/1.8
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter: 1/200 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D80

Northport, Alabama

File report, make presentation, drink some coffee, then some more — slopped into biodegradable styrofoam cups, poured into child-proof, spill-proof, space age mugs, slammed down hot, always too hot, then gone.

Make a fresh pot; the cycle begins anew. The bang of a file cabinet, a muffled curse, the snap-click of staplers, the incessant chattering of telephones and harried voices. Yawn, stretch, stare at the clock.

Drift to this morning, bare feet padding around the kitchen, sightless hands rummaging for a cup. The shelf is empty, the dishwasher full. Flip the switch, listen for the reassuring gurgle that says tonight there will be clean cups again. The alluring aroma of French Roast curls seductively into the morning air. Stare at the shelf one more time.

There in the back, in the darkest corner of the cabinet, trapped behind microwave-warped Tupperware and paper plates — a lone cup. It’s so small, fingers barely able to fit in the narrow handle; so fragile it seems impossible that it will withstand the scalding onslaught about to take place. Shrug. It’ll have to do.

Carry the freshly-poured coffee to the table, sit down, open laptop, finger the cup’s delicate rim as the computer whirrs to life. Look out the window and see the first pale blush of sunrise.

Cup in hand, wander to the living room, throw open the French doors. It’s chilly this morning. It doesn’t matter. Why is there no chair out here? It’s the perfect place to slowly come to life, look down and watch the city to the same.

A shrill phone interrupts, and you drag your eyes back to the clock. Ten minutes have passed. A new cup of coffee is tested with a cautious tongue, and it invokes a grimace. Cold now. Trudge to the break room, wait for the microwave to work its magic, remember to turn off the lights and close the door when you leave. Walk past the supply cabinet, pause, slosh coffee as you wrench the metal doors open. Choose a thick pad of Post-Its, snag a lone roller ball trapped among the ballpoint mélange.

Return to desk. Sit down. Tap roller ball against Post-It, stare at clock. Begin to write: Drop off dry cleaning. Get heels repaired. Pause, smile, resume writing: Buy rocking chair for balcony.

Sip coffee and wonder who came up with the dim idea that offices shouldn’t have windows. Stare at clock. Only 810 minutes until sunrise.

Music: A Line Allows Progress, A Circle Does Not by Bright Eyes (lyrics)


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