Coffee Log, Day 167

Hi.

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

I met a lady and her mother. The lady says: “Guess her birthday!” Her mother says: “Aha,” a bit embarrassed. The lady’s glowing so I throw out a number. “Wrong!” she says. “It’s September 1921!” I was off by 20 years.

A century…

My grandfathers died in their 70’s or 80’s, grandmothers did the same. My mother’s mother lived with us before she died. She had hospice. I got the call in 7th grade and my Dad came to pick me up. My mother was too torn up to drive. I remember sitting in the back of Lit class not telling anyone why I was leaving. I was scared of getting bullied; I was even more scared of pity. You’re a weed in the garden, something that doesn’t fit; death has stiff burrs.

Last year, I knew a woman in her 90’s. She had soft hands, I remember shaking them. She told a lot of stories then told them again; she’d become disconnected. We talked about Burlington. We talked about Greensboro. I knew her through a partner, we sat together in the winter-white bedroom and watched old family tapes. Those were nice moments, but they were just lace on the larger tablecloth of care-giving; winter-black nights trying to keep your hot, wet, scared, stressed, granddaughter’s body from shaking out of my arms.

I told my Dad I didn’t need to see the body. So he made the call, we drove a couple blocks, and came back to an empty hospital bed where her soul used to recline. My mother was crying in the living room, I wasn’t ready for that. Instead, I took five minutes with the empty bed. The last few months before she died, my grandmother had become disconnected. She called me by my uncle’s name; told unknowable stories to my mom. I’d seen her sweat, shake, and piss herself. Now, there were clean white sheets. Hospice had spirited away every trace of her. “Better place, better place,” but sometimes she’d seemed happy in her delirium. Didn’t know my name or maybe her own but she was still my grandmother. You’re never lost completely. Otherwise, why would the care-giving hurt?

The lady and her damn-close-to-100 mother drove off. They were beaming and proud. They had each other, had full heads and strong bodies. You never know who’s shaking themselves to sleep, though.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star.
It’s dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago.
Maybe the star doesn’t even exist any more. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.” – Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun
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Coffee Log, Day 94

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s brand

Walking in the parking lot: girl in purple jogs by, seen her a few times; crickets; last ditch birds holding that daysong; every light’s on at the apartments; the moon is woebegone.

I left home to make home out of nothing. A high-pitched air conditioner; it’s all still following me.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

Even so, there were times I saw freshness and beauty. I could smell the air, and I really loved rock ‘n’ roll. Tears were warm, and girls were beautiful, like dreams. I liked movie theaters, the darkness and intimacy, and I liked the deep, sad summer nights. – Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

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Coffee Log, Day 43

Hi.

Coffee: House Espresso from Java Jive, Cary; purchased with a tip from Andrew. Most Espresso falls into two categories – burnt, dirty, something to shoot in a latte and forget about, bottom-shelf vodka; or, overly ripe and sour. Java Jive’s doesn’t speak to either. It’s warm and dark. It’s comfortable. The light in your driveway after a long day at work. Thanks for the coffee, Andrew.

I used to date a girl from Cary. She grew up here, went to school here and as far as I know her father still haunts the southern suburbs. I was frantically in love with her and followed where she pointed. Java Jive was her favorite cafe growing up. We used to buy Thai Iced coffees there.

I remember one afternoon when my ex had some business to take care of and I didn’t have a car. She dropped me off at Java Jive and I sat in the courtyard of the brick strip mall trying to write. I was working on what I hoped would be a novel. The sun was out. It was hot. I had trouble finding shade and lawn bugs kept nagging me. I wrote a chapter and gave up. A few months later, I gave up on the novel.

This week, I’ve been having lots of writer’s block. It’s frustrating. Walking the grounds of Java Jive, I saw the scraps of pulled-teeth ideas sleeping in the bushes. They were mangy old dogs but sitting pretty comfortably. It was nice to remember them. I drove home.

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

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“The fresh smell of coffee soon wafted through the apartment, the smell that separates night from day.” – Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

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Coffee Log, Day 37

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro, Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

I check email obsessively. Wake up, get dressed, open the curtains and dissolve into the white-hot smartphone. With job and graduate school applications, I’ve been obsessing even more, but even when I’m not expecting anything checking email starts my day – often ends it too.

Back when snail mail was the choice communique, I’m sure people were no less obsessive. If anything, a letter – written or typed – has substance the way a blip of data doesn’t. Walk your lawn to open that red mailbox on the curb. Wave at your neighbors.

I like being talked to, reached for, given good or bad news. It’s heartening even when it’s sober. Two tiny boats sending bottles across the sea. I have to wonder, though, what it would feel like if the obsession wasn’t there.

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

Fund the Coffee Log 🙂https://ko-fi.com/livesaywriting  

“I’ll write to you. A super-long letter, like in an old-fashioned novel.” – Haruki Murakami, After Dark

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