Coffee

I still make coffee for two;

A seemingly meaningless confession that somehow shapes my daily routine.

I still make coffee for two.

How many years have passed since two became one?

It has to have been a year at least.

The man was not my husband only a lover who forgot to love,

Forgot to love me.

Or maybe it was a choice to stop loving that only a man like himself could make.

Our relationship was a flame, easy to light, quick to extinguish.

He loved himself, he forgot the fire.

But I still make coffee for two.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back before the routines and two cups of coffee,

One painfully full and the other as empty as his nightstand,

There was only me.

I was just a girl back then

Hoping to be a musician like many of the other New Yorkers in my class.

Mr. Clark, my mentor, said that I had talent,

Enough to make the notes on a page to come alive with a few flicks of my fingers and the strings of my guitar.

He was an old man with crinkles on his wrinkles

And gray hair that could be mistaken with the brightest silver.

But Mr. Clark was wise in his age

And when he mentioned the Blue Moon Coffee Shop and its open mic night

I trusted that this would be my career starter

And that one day

Maybe I could be as great as the greatest and live the dream of music.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I played the song as I had every other night during the past few weeks of my extended stay at the Blue Moon,

Flawlessly and almost without effort.

The small crowd applauded and cheered in the dark little coffee room,

Noticing neither my blush nor beaming smile.

All were hearing the sounds, the notes, dancing to their own words within the music I had weaved into their very souls.

And standing in the darkest corner of this tiny room was a man who seemed to stick out as if the brightest spotlight had landed directly on him.

He was not a groupie swaying with my rhythm,

But one of the coffee drinkers who had just happened upon a young performers performance.

The man was pale in the darkness like a pearl hidden in the depths of the ocean

And his eyes, even from my distance, radiated a majestic forest green.

It was only a look but I felt a new beat pulsing through me

Ready to be strummed for others to understand what love really felt like from this view.

That was almost a year ago,

In the age of loving and wanting and having.

And I'm still making coffee with the same cups as the first night

Hoping that impossibly painful hope

That maybe he will come back to me.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I haven't had the rhythm in a long time-

A years worth of silence for the years worth of heartbreak-

And the beat just doesn't belong to my fingertips anymore

But maybe it wasn't meant to be?

My guitar has been banished to my closet,

Where his leather jacket still hangs

Not even stirring in the air from my open window blows hard enough to rumple my sheets.

It is solid, like his decision to leave,

Never budging in its resolution.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm still going to my classes

Enduring the time it takes until I'm smart enough to leave

And it seems to be a waste of time now

Because there isn't a class that teaches a heart to heal

Or to stop staring at an immovable jacket

Or to leave the coffee alone because that boy isn't coming back.

But Mr. Clark says that moving on begins with the beginning,

Where the heart first learned to love.

But I can't go back there anymore.

The walls know too much,

And my guitar is still dusty,

And maybe I don't want to move on just yet.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In my dream I'm running after him

My blue eyes searching for just a glimmer.

That's all I'm after anymore.

I can't bet on too much,

When he's left me with so little.

And I'm sure that only a glimpse of his beauty

Won't help the sanity that I seem to have lost when he closed my front door.

I need to stop looking!

I need to stop searching!

In the dream I close my eyes

And open them to the real world,

The only reality I have left.

My eyes must still be in dreamland

Because it looks like his jacket is swinging,

Side to side,

Like the people who once enjoyed my music.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The night is gone now

And the jacket is dancing wildly off its hook.

It wasn't a dream!

I want to sing, to play my guitar like last year and rejoice in his return,

Because if the jacket is moving then he is moving,

And it must be towards me.

But the moment is broken because I see and remember,

Remember that everything was not how it seemed and that he left for a reason,

And how I can't afford to be broken anymore than I already have been.

I'm noticing how the swinging jacket seems to brush against my guitar

And the scent that lingers there is one of leather, coffee, and cigarette smoke

Which I haven't smelt in a very long time and don't rather enjoy anymore.

I don't like how the jacket is engulfing my guitar in his leather and smoke and coffee smell that I used to love

And I rip it off its hanger where it doesn't belong anymore.

It's the first time that I've ever considered Mr. Clark would be right

About beginning at the beginning

And moving on.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm making the daily coffee again,

Two cups straight black like they always have been,

And this time,

Like with the jacket,

I have the urge to throw his cup at the wall and scream

"What have you done to me?"

I won't because that would only prove my newfound insanity

But I'm sure it would feel good to let go now,

Of the anger and hurt and life that's routines don't seem to include moving on,

And to be the musician of a dream that didn't seem to make it into reality.

No, I don't hurl his cup into an oblivion of ceramic black pieces

But place it gently into my cabinet,

And shut the door on a life that really isn't mine.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's the scariest feeling, not being without him,

But being okay without him.

And I'm standing outside the Blue Moon,

My guitar undusted and tuned to a beat that matches my own,

Ready for the gig that should never have ended in the first place.

I step inside, up onto the stage that seems brighter than it used to,

And ready for the duty of being the only thing needed to hold me higher than the rest.

Not a man, not a lover, just a stage to keep me standing and supported.

And now I'm that girl again

The one who wants to be a musician like almost every New Yorker in her class,

One who's career shouldn't have ended in love

But began because of it.

And I'm strumming, strumming out a new song,

One about the coffee first because that's where I began

And the one about getting back last,

At last,

Back to the girl from the beginning of my story,

A girl who only needs one cup of coffee

And who would be as great as the greatest and live the dream of music.

This is her beginning, this is my beginning.