Coffee Log, Day 293

Hi.

Coffee: Dunkin Donuts Drip from the bank’s breakroom; it could have been sweet, could have been bitter, but my nose is stuffed up more than an over-eager Build-a-Bear so I could hardly taste it.

Still sick. I got off work early to go to the doctors. They gave me a ‘breathing enhancer.’ It was a fancy word for an inhaler. It was my first time having albuterol. They fed me to it for fifteen minutes. By the end, I couldn’t tell a difference.

My dad’s always had asthma. He grew up with it and it got so bad his parents moved him out to Arizona for a while, empty air. So I’ve got all these memories of his inhalers from growing up. They seemed like space-age technologies, something out of Star Trek. I liked the fancy cartridges with all that tiny writing. I liked the colorful capsules he’d fit through his beard. Then there was that sound – a suck! – like the last balloon was undone. It signified something important, something I was too young to understand. Later, I realized, it signified my father was constantly working at keeping himself alive – for himself, for our family, for me.

And in the weirdest way – sick on my 29th birthday – I’ve had that same medicine touch my lungs, and I feel connected, and I feel a little closer to my family, and I feel his old strong bones pushing down those albuterol puffs beside me, and I’m thinking that whatever breaths life still has for me, however many birthdays I’ll get to see, I’ll be forever breathing a legacy of Arizona deserts, modern medicine, and a complicated will to keep going in the world no matter how much it’s prettiest things like cats and flowers might be denied you.

I appreciate my family, my father and mother. I’m glad you gave me this chance to turn 29.

Novel Count: (on hiatus while I recover from this cold)

Currently Reading: Cherry, Nico Walker (Finished! Mixed feelings overall; I’ll try to get to a review this weekend)

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and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath
the first time his fingers touched the keys
the same way a soldier holds his breath
the first time his finger clicks the trigger.
We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe.

Andrea Gibson


Coffee Log, Day 163

Hi.

Coffee: Fair Trade Five County Espresso Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

She says she’s running the Libertarian ticket for county treasurer; says the Repub incumbent has been embezzling. She says she believes in Capitalism when it works, Socialism when it works, but it never works so she wants small government. Tomorrow, she’ll canvass for a different Libertarian. I tell her I knew a guy at Duke who repped the party, she didn’t recognize the name. Things change. Politics changes. She grew up in Apex and ran the list of all the small businesses she’s watched close.

I’m working a corner of Cary I didn’t know existed. It’s way West, way North, close to Morrisville. There’s a McDonald’s, a dry cleaner’s, a local Mexican chain. It rained all day. New roads – and these were new – look pewter in a storm. I got caught in it taking lunch at the Mexican. A white guy went by on bicycle. He was making laps. He was five years my junior. He looked like someone who was promised a whole lot and given a little less.

I talk to a biker who’s going to Ireland. Says it rains here, rains there, who gives a… His son’s getting married. Expensive wedding. I talked to another father who’s going to Paris. His son plays soccer international, has a game against a world-class club. Son’s 19, dropped out of college for this. Dad says he turns his friends down for parties, hasn’t had a drop of alcohol. Dad says he started a dream at 7 and now he kicks the ball. “That dedication is what I’m proud of, not the sport.”

She says she’s engaged, says her fiance’ works retail, says they’re worried but not too worried. A pretty couple, lip-locked under tip-cupped summer thunderstorms. Free like the runoff; small government.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Here beyond men’s judgments all covenants were brittle.” – Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

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Coffee Log, Day 148

Hi.

Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema

I talked to a soldier, an officer. He was career, 35 yrs, started in ’80, a combat medic, now he teaches other combat medics. He was a friendly guy with a sailor’s tongue (though he was Army) and told stories about drills. He described a practice kill room.

“They’ve got to get the body, check ’em out, and sometimes I’d put grenades under them so if you don’t check you’re fucked. And then I make the partner go in and now he’s got to deal with your shit too.”

He’d dropped out of college when a snooty professor told him what to do. He walked right up to the Prof and said “Repeat that and you’ll lose your left eye.”

The officer had his fourteen-year-old daughter with him. The whole conversation, she kept making fun of his wrinkles, his gray hair, how much he sweats when he does the rucks after turning 50. He took the beating. They left with their arms around each other.

Real love is someone that lets you let go of all the hard, strong things you spend your life holding on to; real love is someone that gives you a reason to keep carrying all the hard, strong things to the end.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
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