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The coffee has gone cold. The thought aimlessly wanders through my mind as I slowly stir the substance with a dirty silver spoon. Cold coffee…I’m sure that it was good once, but it’s been sitting out for God knows how long. And God knows how long I’ve been sitting here stirring…waiting…
I think that this was a special cup, brewed for a special reason. I furrow my brow as I try to remember why. Thinking back, I recall that I didn’t just throw it into the maker like I usually did. Slowly getting up from my seat, I walk away from the table and make my way to the kitchen area, running my fingers along the labels of the spices I added to the coffee. I smile as I imagine them forming their own assembly line and marching around the kitchen.
Suddenly, I remember who I made the coffee for. It was for Jonathan. He called and said he was coming home early from work with something important to tell me. I stare at the rain pouring down the window, wondering if that was what had made him so late. Rush hour ended a long time ago…I frown, staring at the row of spice jars.
All of these spices are his favorites. But he’s ruined and wasted all of them by letting the coffee go cold. Everything has gone to waste because of him. Choking back a sob, I smash the spices to the ground, the heavy aroma of Jonathan’s spices wafting towards me as I pick my way out of the shattered mess. Wiping my bloody feet on the stained carpet, I pick up the phone next to Jonathan’s chair and dial his number.
“Alyssa? What’s going on?” He asks me the minute he picks up, his tone distracted and tinted with worry. The background noise of a TV leaks through the receiver. He’s not in the car, and my insides twist his rage as I realize that he isn’t going to step out into the rain and home to me any time soon.
“You’re late.” I hiss into the receiver. “You’re late and now the coffee’s gone cold. Do you know how long it took for me to make that coffee, Jonathan? It was a special brew just for you. And instead of coming home to me you clearly decided to go somewhere else and leave your poor wife alone in this miserable excuse of a house.” My voice cracks as hot tears pour down my cheeks.
The silence on the other end of the phone presses against me in my right ear through the receiver as the silence from the living room crushes me on my left. Just as I think I might drown in the death of noise, Jonathan wearily says, “Alyssa. We’ve been through this before. I divorced you ten years ago. I came home with the papers, remember? That’s why you made the coffee for me.”
He pauses as a female voice calls for him in the background. “I have to go. My wife made dinner and Lila just got back from her camping trip. I don’t think you’ve met her. What a lovely little girl. She makes me proud to be a father…one minute, dear!”
“Wait,” I whisper, just before he hangs up. “Please, don’t leave me alone to the darkness…it’s everywhere. Please, my darling, just come and drink the coffee. Even if you take the tiniest of sips it will make me feel better. Don’t let the love I put into that coffee go to waste. Jonathan…Jonathan!” I scream as the line goes dead.
I drop the receiver and collapse into a puddle of sobs, dragging myself off of the carpet and into the corner. The tightly closed curtains loosen ever so slightly, and as a car rumbles past its headlights fall briefly on my wedding picture. For a minute, the room is flooded with brightness, all of it coming from the captured memory of happy times. I blink and the light is gone. The car engine slowly fades into the distance.
After about an hour of broken weeping, I finally pull myself together. I tightly bandage my feet and readjust my limp ponytail. Turning towards the window once more, I see that the rain is pouring harder than ever. That, I realize, must be the reason why my husband is so late. I slowly sink down into the chair facing a cup of coffee sitting on the dining table.
I begin slowly stirring it with a dirty silver spoon. The more I stir, the more my thoughts fade into the shadows. Time seems to become nonexistent, and there is nothing left except the empty shell that I once was and the stirring. I stare at the inky black liquid, wondering why I even bothered to make it anyway. Surely there must have been a reason…
The rain pours harder, and thunder rumbles. Shivering, I press myself harder into the hard wooden chair. Absentmindedly, I touch the porcelain mug that the coffee has filled. I drop the spoon and frown. Dipping a single pinkie finger into the mixture, my suspicions are confirmed.
The coffee has gone cold.