By SE Zeller
I am rudely reminded each morning, when I pour my first blessed cup of coffee onto the countertop, that I have absolutely no idea what is happening in this world.
I’ve lived some sixty-odd years before this began, you understand—so when I have to remember pre-caffeination—I am more than a touch flummoxed. Without fail, I wait in the warm fuzzy stupor of post-slumber, for the pre-ground Colombian beans, loaded the day before, to blend with water into a singularly delightful substance. I listen comfortably to my expensive plumbed coffee maker, that Bernard had loved ever so much, burble and trickle into the metal insulated pot. The pot is opaque, much like the gravitational process.
Astronomers were the first to note the cause. “Atomic blasts tilt earth’s axis!” “Earth knocked off natural orbit!” headlines read. “Gravity in our world changes forever!” Sensational, you might think. But the alteration of the once perpetual flicker of the stars, the unremitting streak trailing behind each twinkling one—that constant, that right-side pull—was a dead giveaway.
We would never be the same. Gravity, as humankind had always known it, had shifted, tilted.
Bernard was much the same, just slower. He pulled away for years, ever further away on the right side of our bed. Ever more tilted, changed. Uninterested in the happenings of what was once our life, what is now only mine.
You understand, then, that I couldn’t see it happening. Something of a rude awakening, you might say. My therapist, she calls it “habitual ingrainment.” My father always called it my “stubborn streak.” I tend to agree with him, if I’m being honest.
So, when my coffee pot is full to the brim with potential, I hazily grab it, and pour with confidence, my favorite shiny black mug sitting beneath the lip of the pot, and coffee streams across the white countertop, two inches directly to the right of the mug. I expect the world to be as it was. To be somehow more solid. Dependable.
Yet each time, I’m equal parts surprised and aghast.
While I mop up my first glorious, wasted cup of coffee each morning, with one of the kitchen towels in that unforgivable shade that Bernard insisted went so well with our kitchen, I look out the window. My gaze catches upon the lilies atop the freshly planted dirt mound in the backyard, a splash of milk white on rich chocolate soil, listing forever to the right. I am reminded of my lack of insight, my lack of vision.
And I drink my coffee, still a blessing, though it is the second cup of the pot. I grind and load the beans for tomorrow. I vow to myself that I will do better tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I will remember.