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I woke this morning dreaming of coffee. Not mounds of glossy beans or the perfect cappuccinos that sit steaming on the Italian counters of my past. Nope, I dreamt of the coffee pot my mother used when I was small. It lived on the stove when it was not being washed. It never migrated to hidden cupboards like the waffle iron and other less serviceable, kitchen objects. It was humble and friendly and it talked. Small, grey and pitted with tiny dents, it percolated.

Sometimes, 6ish or so, in bed, wondering which pair of mary-janes to wear to school, I imagined it’s just audible put-put noises were a tiny coffee pot train moving over the geography of my room. It moved across my covers and up to my toy box where it did loop d’ loops around my fathers hand-painted orange and blue stripes and surreal horse head toy trunk and then chugged it’s way up to a home station in the lap of my giant raggedy-ann doll.

At the breakfast table my father was installed with his first cup of coffee and some toast. He would sip and sigh. I was provided with milk and toast and, until I rebelled, a three minute egg in a flamboyant chicken eggcup with my name on it.

Mother and father would sip and sigh. Where was my darn coffee? Milk and toast and a runny egg were not cutting it. I asked for coffee. You would have thought I asked for a scotch on the rocks, or a drag off one on my fathers Camel cigarettes. They were horrified. It would stunt my growth, whatever that meant.

I started a campaign involving plaintive pouting, mysterious stomach upsets and when that didn’t work started drinking my milk out of a coffee cup and sipping and sighing in an authentic weary world-worn grown-up way.

Finally, I got my own cup of coffee. Sure, it was only one inch and they insisted that instead of drinking it I could only dunk my toast soldiers in it. I didn’t care. I could add cream and sugar, smell the steam and then gaze into the little brown bubbles and dunk away. Heaven.

This morning I heard my coffee train again. It’s putt-putt-putt followed me all the way to my first sip. As I looked at the foam I saw a heart within a heart. My love of my parents and my love of coffee, together in a cup.

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