Friday, October 15, 2010

Brewing

The unique aroma of mild-flavored coffee. He'd bring me some before leaving for work as I lay on his side of the bed. Awake but with eyes closed, I'd wait until he placed the porcelain cup of Blue Mountain regular roast - milk no sugar - on the nightstand before I sat up and gave him my best good morning and thank you smile.

On the mornings we were angry, the routine was the same, except there would be civil greetings but no smile.

The styrofoam cup of tepid coffee – sugar no milk – sat untouched in front of me as I listened to the neutral mediator work through all the issues my soon to be ex-husband and I needed to resolve.

“Because you share the same base of information, it will take less time to negotiate something that makes sense to both of you,” the mediator said after he invited us to sit down at the conference table in the center of his office.

It took one hour. We were married for a short time and there were no children to share.

Today, I sat in the coffee shop near my office and saw him walk by with her, his arm around her shoulder and throwing back his head as he laughed at her words.

I wondered if she waited on the bed for that first cup of coffee or if she sat with him at the table after serving him breakfast.

“Do you want a refill?” The waiter stood at my right and held the carafe over my cup.

I nodded and while he poured the hot water into my cup, I asked for a fresh teabag.

41 comments:

  1. Ha! Sometimes a change is as good as a rest.
    Marisa, even though your coffee was served up sans sugar, this was very sweet. The feelings she has are vivid and real. My ex used to make me coffee and bring it to my bedside. What happens to those moments? Where do they disappear? In a swirl of steam? You paint a touching portrait of a ruined marriage in surprisingly few words.
    And your tea is a sweet, appropriate ending.
    Yay, you!

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  2. Such a subtly powerful story in so few words, Marisa. I'm a sucker for coffee, but the tea at the end was a smooth twist. A really enjoyable, bittersweet story.

    Take care,
    Jess

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  3. I've had a few moments like this. It's never pleasant or easy, and I didn't handle it with as much grace and dignity as the character here.

    Great depiction, Marisa.

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  4. I've had a few moments like this. It's never pleasant or easy, and I didn't handle it with as much grace and dignity as the character here.

    Great depiction, Marisa.

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  5. Welcome back to the rounds, Marisa! I prefer tea over coffee, too. This was sweet for something so super-short.

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  6. The full circle feel of this was great.

    I liked the ending [beginning?] you provided her with and somehow get the feeling that she'll be much happier now that she's switched to tea.

    Nice light touch.
    :0)

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  7. so many wonderfully subtle details in this. The switch from coffee to tea to purge the routines and habits of being with him. The horrendous textbook speak of the mediator, the beautiful intimacy of the opening para until you wrench it away from us as the story develops.

    masterful!

    marc nash

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  8. Concise and well-written, Marisa. You deftly take us from a happy moment, to a sad ending and the hint of a new beginning. Nicely done.

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  9. Ohh, glad to have you back; we've missed you Mari-girl! *mwah*

    I guess you're being influenced by the chocolate (now plus coffee) conspiracy, hehe. Very nice way of describing the stages of the couple's relationship through coffee. Love it!

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  10. I really admire how you take us on a rollercoaster of emotions in such a short piece. Very nicely written.

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  11. I loved how the simple action and object of a coffee can symbolise a relationship and all that it contains. Well done.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  12. Loved how you set the story around different coffee moments. The mundane bits of our lives are essential props waiting in the wings for our command performances.

    I'm sure we all recognise those moments and whilst sad, I felt that the protagonist had hope.

    I am confident that she will find a new life in her teacup, not a storm but the calm tranquility of cammomile! :)

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  13. Wonderful piece. Something so seemingly innocuous takes on such overtones as it measures out a relationship.

    Hopefully she'll find someone nice to bring her cups of tea in the morning.

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  14. This hit home because my ex-husband used to bring me coffee in bed like that and our marriage lasted just over a year. I read this thinking - I know this story! This was a rich concoction of emotions and a perfect slice of life.

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  15. The descent of this relationship described with hot drinks... I didn't think it could work so well. Especially the subtle middle: the cold coffee in styrofoam, the ultimate cheap junk. Really well done.

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  16. Change. She's moving on in small sips.

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  17. There was sadness, but I forsee a good fresh start with that fresh tea bag. Very nicely dine!

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  18. Exquisite and bittersweet. It's always the little things one seems to remember most. You are a master of words, Marisa. There's so much in that little space. I feel good about her future.

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  19. Good story. Interesting to see her hot beverage choice as life moves on and changes.

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  20. Well written little story. A lot of emotional undertow here.

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  21. Very bittersweet. You've captured that curiosity about the other so well here, and the heartbreak of the knowing, while staying so matter of fact.

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  22. Oh I love this - a relationship told in coffee and tea cups. Great ending...Glad she's switched to tea!

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  23. Smooth reflection through a life change. Wonderful ending on the tea.

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  24. I loved the symbolism at the end. I'm not a tea person, but I'm divorced so I understand perfectly. Great job in so few words. Well done!

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  25. I thought it was brilliant the way you used their beverages of choice as symbols of their relationship. I wonder if maybe she had gotten him a cup of coffee or made him breakfast more maybe they would have been married longer. Nicely done!

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  26. I smiled at your closing line. Cheers to new bags.

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  27. Oh, I've been there (although I stuck with coffee!)
    We move on though, don't we? The end of the world never comes and we get on with it

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  28. interesting how even small changes like that can be symbolic... excellent story.

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  29. No wonder he dumped her!

    Tea? Not coffee? Camomile? Not Starbucks?

    Bet he and his girlfriend are off for Dunkin' Donuts!

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  30. Love the switcheroo at the end. Um, this happened to me with an ex. So this freaks me out with the similarity. beautifully written, per usual. You do so good at capturing the nuances of relationship. Peace...

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  31. I do love your stories, Marisa. Great ending! :)

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  32. A lot of adjectives could be used about this story - revealing, subtle, sad, quiet .... Loved the end where she has not only changed her life, but changed even what she drinks.

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  33. :sniff sniff: This is what it sounds like when doves cry. Great story, M.

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  34. Nicely written - love the tea bag at the end :)

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  35. Isn't that the way of things. I'd switch to tea after that, too. Good symbolism.

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  36. Fresh tea bags are always a good thing. Especially as replacement to tepid coffee. Lovely piece, Marisa.

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  37. Terrific writing here. You captured the the change from a sweet and loving relationship to the disillusion, right through the dissolution so well. Nicely done.
    ~jon

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  38. Wonderful in its brevity and I loved the switch... Great job.

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  39. My first thought was, great photo!

    Then I read the story. It's told beautifully. I like the switch to tea at the end. I hope her future is happier.

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  40. Once again, nicely done. Love the tea at the end too.

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  41. Ironically, because I spent time reading this, the tea I was brewing got cold.

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