You know what I mean

By the fifth day, the coffee may as well be tea. Day five the grounds are weak, wrung out, done in. By day five, the grounds have given it all they had. I despise the fifth day.

It’s Tuesday morning, day five, and I’m sipping my poor excuse for coffee by myself at my tiny kitchen table, when it comes back to me: The large table, the freshly squeezed orange juice, the glorious newspaper. And don’t forget the new coffee every single morning. We had it all.

Tuesday’s news is old news, but it even still it lies there filling my tiny table, begging my attention. You know I’m elsewhere, always elsewhere. I’m always with him, in our old life, our run-down shack of a castle, our love so tight it blocked out all the light. You know I never could read the paper, I always just looked at it.

farmhouse-kitchenToday, like every day, I’m right back there with him, a steaming-hot cup of first day coffee in my hand. I’m not reading, not seeing. When every day is day one, you feel nothing. Day one the windows are black. Day one and I’m back there in our real kitchen – real, real – I’m talking Viking range, glistening Bio-glass countertops, pristine doorless cabinets, Williams Sonoma stone-top double island, all of it.

He never wanted to talk. He liked his Business in peace, he liked to savor his coffee. He liked to admire his pretty scene as he flipped to the center spread. He preferred silence and I preferred him so I did what I had to. I sat pretty with my first day coffee and I liked it. He read Business while I kept up with pleasure.

My new place is small but cute. It’s got a patio and a picture window. My parkay floors that he would have hated, my velvet chaise in the corner that he’d have never even heard of. I’ve got a crystal chandelier that catches the light, and then there’s my table, small, round, and delicate. Here I am, stretched to the limit. I’m here, drinking day-five tasteless coffee because I can’t afford new beans. Here I am, still being elsewhere.

I took it until I couldn’t stand it. I shopped, I decorated, I even bought the fucking coffee beans. I put all the finishing touches on sweet reality. Don’t get me wrong, he kept up his end of the deal. He took care of Business. We gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t enough. You know what I mean, don’t you?

Somewhere around the 5,478th repetition of day one, I found myself sitting at that heavy Livingston dining table and I just couldn’t bear it. My patience was dwindling and I couldn’t see the sun. Powerlessness makes me angry, and I’m not proud of this, but I took my 5,478th cup of day-one coffee and poured it all over his Business section. It felt so good.

So now I’m here, in my new place. I’ve got a little shelf over the sink with a mirror and a couple of knickknacks; I’ve got the music going and the picture window is uncovered all the time. I can see it now: The sun in the sky, the blossom on the trees. Freedom is mine.

Still, I can’t enjoy it. I gave it all I had and I’m totally broke. You know how I feel. I’m drinking tea for coffee and what’s worse, tomorrow is day one.

10 thoughts on “You know what I mean

  1. Marking time by the strength of your coffee. I like that. Sounds like something a sailor or a prisoner would do. You took it up a notch above that though. Nice!

  2. This is so, so good, Christi. It flows, angrily lyrical, like a really good punk song. I’ve enjoyed all your writing but I think this is my favorite so far.

  3. Fabulous, intelligent, unique voice – as always…have I said this before? 😉 I really liked this and can relate especially to the coffee situation as my husband has me hooked on freshly roasted coffee. Not that I’ll be pouring it on his newspaper.

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