Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One More Cup Of Coffee :: The White Stripes

One More (Cup Of Coffee)

Louise kept a running list of things that she could still stand about Jake. A torn out sheet from one of his composition books, toward the back so it would take some time for him to notice, though she knew he’d see it eventually. The little jagged remains of paper will rat her out, proof of damage, like the bruises he leaves on the soft bits of her pale skin. He will find them, but not today, so she crumples it up and stuffs it at the bottom of her raggedy blue purse.

She sits outside in the cold, just around the back of the store, legs tucked up under her and the remains of a half-smoked cigarette pressed between her lips. (Next week I will quit, I swear) She had that moment, around quarter past six, where she thought of leaving (again). Sometimes all it takes is a crooked smile from a stranger, or the wide-eyed wonder of a child staring up at her, holding their mother’s hand, that makes her think to go.

I’m not sure he’d miss me much, anyway. And he doesn’t know about you, yet, now does he?

Louise changes her mind, sitting out there leaned up against the dumpsters, break time ticking away on the old wristwatch she wears (her father’s, the only thing he’d left her), and her skirt a little tighter; one more week and she’ll be showing.

She reasons that all it will take is one more thing, one more reason, to add to the list; that is all it will take to make her stay. She closes her eyes tightly, half-wishing and half-remembering, until the picture clears and the curtain of her mind recedes.

He makes a damn find cup of coffee, warm, but not too hot, with just the right amount of sugar (not that fake shit that kills small animals) and milk, and something else, some kind of secret ingredient. He told her once his Gran taught him how to make it, her perfect cup of coffee, but made him promise to keep it secret. One morning in bed I’d asked him to tell me, that I’d keep it safe and he smiled at me then, silent for a few minutes, then reluctantly he’d pulled me to his side, and whispered,

She said it was a teaspoon of the sun from the break of a morning sky, three tears shed for the things that have left you, and a wish for something more.”

I think I would have liked his Grandmother.

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