writing about the intangible.

mug and journal

sometimes the only thing that'll get me to crawl into bed at night is the thought of the morning latte that awaits the other side of sleep--the one from the coffee shop halfway up the hill.

the coffee i drink each morning--whether it's cafe bustelo in the green mug of my kitchen cabinet, or the latte from the corner cafe--it is tangible. i can hold it between my hands and feel it. it is real and right and mine.

but more than that it is a marker. some sort of touchstone--benchmark. a portal, really.

i pick up a cup of coffee and i remember when i first began to drink the stuff--sitting at the dark, circular kitchen table in an apartment on 104th. quietly sipping as i mustered both the courage and energy to face another day. to walk out the heavy door of 2B and get myself to school. morning after morning.

and with a warm cup of coffee between my hands i remember the time i went to australia--the first time i ever traveled out of the country by myself--halfway across the world. i remember having my first latte there and the revolution it was. heaven was that latte. sweet and earthy, unlike anything before. i remember those two weeks traveling alone. how i'd sit in cafes or outdoors and attempt to write. i remember the pendulum swing between good days and bearable days.

and i remember last summer in utah when sadness stole upon me once more. and how i couldn't breathe. i remember the two days i spent in park city with my parents. how each of those two mornings we began at a breakfast shop: bagel with egg and cheese, the new york times, and a medium-sized latte. and how those two days were a respite in which i felt safe and loved. and remembered, if only for a moment, that this passing, eclipsing cloud of a sadness would in fact do just that, pass. even if it took some time.

the coffee is tangible. but it's not the point. i know that. but it points to the point--helps me see just how far i've come. between the cups of coffee and the memories has been a life. each morning coffee contains each and every cup (day) that has come before it--allows me to pay homage to who i was, who i am, and the space between.

helps me make tangible what words will never fully do justice.

i was in love once. with a man. really and truly desperately in love. i would have followed him to the ends of the earth had he asked. my first love. and in all the time since i have carried the seeds of that love in me. the memory has filled me. and the knowledge that i am capable of a great and profound affection--the very kind that shifts our makeup and demands that we be more--well it has served as a bedrock of sorts.

i write about vespas and i write about lattes. i write about long-lashes and curly hair and broad shoulders because they are the tangible--they are the portal. but they are not the point. adventure and whimsy and absolute trust. willingness to fight, to disagree, to stand by the person even when you most disagree--those things are the point, i understand that. my parents will have been married for thirty-three years come this august. and trust me when i say they have modeled "the point" for me each and every day. i could not be prouder of them and their many accomplishments.

i am not so busy planning a life based on whimsical notions that i'm not grounded in the reality of what's unfolding before me. but i get to dream. and i get to play. and love is impossible to write about. it is abstract and profound and so beyond the understanding of this human language that i choose to write about the small, tangible things and then hope that in some way the metaphor translates--transcends.

i write about what many might consider insignificant because i know that in my own life--in my single life--in coming back from the edge of absolute sadness--those seemingly insignificant, ridiculous things like coffee and a new blouse and a window over-looking the hudson--well, my God, it has been those things that have made all the difference.