I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker, its potency too much for my overworking heart and overthinking mind. Maybe once a blue moon, when exhaustion has overridden my anxiety, I’ll substitute it for the tea I usually drink in lieu of it.
Since our last kiss, I started taking each cup more bitter than the last. Overtime, I stopped squeezing honey onto a tablespoon and swirling it in. Its raw, unfiltered, sweet amber nectar reminded me too much of his taste. It reminded me too much of the lighter specks inside his eyes.
Then came the coffee. Black. Bitter. Ashy.
And if that isn’t a metaphor for something, then I don’t know what is.
I think of my favorite color, of the ravens sitting on my shoulders who have always followed me around. I think of me. I think of the cavity he left in my heart. I think of the debris he left in the wake of the fire that consumed me amidst the love that we made. I think of how he could be here. How he isn’t. I think about the love. I think about the hate. I think about how his absence feels more like a presence.
The truth is I’m always trying to stomach something that will erase the taste of his mouth.
I drink too, too much sometimes, think about him vividly and as clear as day in the middle of each haze. I’ve always been too good at being stuck with the things I wish I could forget. After every vodka soda, every shot, every glass of wine, every cigarette I shouldn’t have lit, he’s been there.
I couldn’t mask him if I tried (and, oh, how much I’ve tried).
Bitter tea wasn’t strong enough. Coffee wasn’t either. Black coffee, and I wondered what number cup he was already on – remembered it’s how he got through his day.
Cigarettes, and I’d think about how beautiful he looked holding his, how he would hold the filtered end between his two skillful fingers like he held my heart. How he’d suck the smoke in and blow it out, how it would move past him and through him, the way I did, how he’d remain unfazed. How I’ve only ever been a phase to him. I’d think about how the smoke would cling on to my hair and onto my skin, the way he did. I’d think about how he’d reach the end, how he’d put it out, how he had no use for another light until his next fix. Kind of like me.
I’d think about how he’d sometimes pass it to me and offer me a drag, how I wasn’t much of a smoker, how I took it anyway because I’d take anything he ever gave. How I developed a liking for Marlboro 27’s and how I’ve had to quit them time and time again.
Other tongues and I’d think about how no other two have danced as organically as his and mine. Each time another tongue invades my mouth I think about how nobody kisses me the way he does. How just kissing him was always enough to conjure up that rising heat in my belly that would throw me over the edge and send supernovas bursting all over my body, throughout each cell.
Other skin and I’d notice the way there was no hum of electricity like there was with his.
I’ve even put other fingers between my lips and between my teeth. But then they’d touch me, and I’d imagine how different they would look from his fingerprints. I’d have to think that maybe I’ll never feel the way I did with him, with someone else.
Anybody that isn’t him just feels like sojourning in a foreign city until I move on to the next. It doesn’t matter. I could be anywhere. They could be anybody.
Nobody could ever be him.
Nothing else feels right. I’m afraid it ever will.
Four days ago I had my last cigarette (again).
This morning I sighed in defeat and took my tea just how I like it, with too much honey.