The Last Brew

b3f71dbee225528f1e1a35d03b8be2d8TIME FOR one last cup.

I still dream of coffee. I still dream of dipping my fingers in eddies of swirling froth and suffer the distant warmth fading with the passing of time. I still jump out of bed with a start, disoriented, roused by a whistling kettle that’s never there,
struggling with tangled sheets, hoping to catch a whiff of an exotic phantom brew.

How long has it been?

I find no sense, no rhyme, why unwelcome thoughts linger. How the mind always forgets what it yearns to remember and retains the things it needs to forget. This is how it has been, my dilution to a fragmented whole – my decaffeination process. But there are days I wish we had shared one more cup. One for the road, they say. One for the olden days and how they speak so much of how times have changed. How realization had regressed to ambiguity, to more questions why some cups are always half empty, like ours. We were scared. We often sat in a corner, discontented, ever shy to ask for a refill.

Does it matter now? For months I have kept watch over your mug teetering on the edge of my oaken coffee table,
reflecting a skewed portrait of everything it sees, perhaps holding me in contempt for leaving it frothing, dying in its gaping, lipstick-tainted mouth. I wonder. Does it still bear my name? Does it reek of disdain and envy for being replaced, unthinkable once, now thick as the cream that had made our blend larger-than-life? Do you ever wake up every day to the same choices – whether to bathe in the morning sun or seek comfort from an inanimate cup?

It is unfair to compare what we had to a morning beverage and an enduring piece of china. But if there’s anything I learned from all these is that nothing is unbreakable. What we have striven to live for is what eventually did us. And there’s this certain inevitability that, one fine day, I would wake up with the steely resolve, the heart, to finally put matters in order. I wouldn’t let anything kill it, not even hope. Today is as good as any day, I guess.

I still dream of coffee. But today I will be putting back your mug – your Holy Grail – high up the cupboard behind the looking glass where it will sit alone, unrivaled for now, looking down on me from a revered place where it truly belongs. And for the briefest of moments, I will remember the last significant time you held our cup, smiling, beautiful and radiant in the dying afternoon sun, the summer breeze blowing tufts of your golden hair, your eyes saying everything’s going to be alright.

It all ends here, not because there’s nothing else to say, but because nothing else matters. Remember our attempt at definition. Deja Brew: The feeling that we’ve tasted this coffee before. This has ominously become our definition of fate, our destiny. But when that time comes, this I pray – the next time you look down your petit noir, face-to-face with that bottomless black, feeling that old familiar feeling, I hope that every once in a while you’d still see my reflection looking back at you, reminding you how brave we’ve once been to throw it all into the mix and how we’ve given it all we’ve got.

You know I’ve been under the rain for too long. I love the rain, but sometimes I miss the sun. So here I am looking out the door with my final brew – a piping-hot cup of decaf – its steam rising, floating, thoughtfully dancing to the wave of a last goodbye.


(because nothing else matters)

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71 thoughts on “The Last Brew

  1. Oh how I miss your decadently divine prose sweet sir! I was wondering if this one was in your perhaps future thoughts of being read aloud? (hint hint). Of course, I know life gets so very busy and that may not be in the cards…just thought I’d put it out there to think on. Also, wanted to wish you a happy and safe holiday to wherever you happened to choose. You are missed….so so very very much! Hugs and wishes for a happy week to you and yours…. <3 ~

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    • hello christina! so sweet of you to check on my neglected blog. thank you very much and hope all is well out there. been missing all of you. i’m on an extended vacation but i hope to be posting again starting august or earlier. i’ve been meaning to update The Caffeine Chronicles.

      you have no idea how much i’ll be honored if i hear this one read by you someday (hint, hint). tc!

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      • I do miss your wordsmithing sweet sir!! All is mostly well…though far too hot for me this week ha! I am very happy to hear of your vacation and hope it is relaxing and awesome and amazing too! You deserve it!

        I shall remain anticipatious for your return to blog land. I shouldn’t really say much, having myself returned from three months away ha! Ooo….well I shall see what the muse brings me with your most brilliant words…perhaps surprise for your return?! :) take care of you! Hugs ~

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  2. Pingback: The Coffee Dreamers | TheWhyAboutThis

  3. Great post! I personally have never ever been a coffee (or Tea drinker) so not feeling overally moved by the discussion of longing, but it is worded fantastically and could apply to almost anything we JUST HAVE TO HAVE!!

    Thanks for sharing..
    Miss Lou

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    • it always comes as a great compliment to know that a reader takes in more than what the piece appears to offer at first glance. so, thank you, for your thoughts and kind words, miss lou :) – neil

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  4. “You know I’ve been under the rain for too long.
    I love the rain, but sometimes I miss the sun.”

    Your words always sing to me….in so many many ways…. They resonate….bringing me reflections of my own journey that I long to let go of….you are so very gifted sweet friend… and I am exceedingly happy to see your words flowing….yet again….

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    • i just thought it was worth a shameless repost. kind of retelling a story using more pictures. i am so looking forward to the much-needed vacation so i can do my own photos. we all deserve our little piece of sun. soon. thank you, christina!

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  5. Neil!! I’ve told you how glad I am you’re back, right? Such goodness!! Being serious for a moment, I wish I could have read this a few months ago, when I was still deep in the midst of my own “decaffeination process” – but this still helps now, and is still beautiful, besides.

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    • “decaffeinated amb” has a ring to it, don’t you think? just glad that your unwelcome life event is behind you now and there should be no looking back. well, a quick glance every now and then won’t hurt but that should be enough. thank you amber :)

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      • Lol! It does indeed! Though I’m a notorious coffee addict, so it would probably confuse people :-)

        Thanks – I’m getting the urge to glance behind me less and less often these days. Turns out all the cliches about time healing are true!

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  6. Two sides to the coin when your job is being creative (like yours) and yet your muse (the creative aspect of you, needs it’s very own release. This is brilliant, The added finessing definition. The gentle turn of attitude, an aspect of moving on, a hint of okayness even with the poignant memories, Excellent refinement. Not a rewrite at all, a refinement of subtlety that I find infinitely pleasing to read!

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    • wow, penny, you can see through me. and i mean that. the difficult task of recovery and moving on, the “decaffeination process,” takes time. we often waste our lives staring at empty cups and empty houses. it doesn’t matter how many friends or kin we surround ourselves with, in the end we go through it alone. loss always begins with a bang, but it always ends with, like you said, little subtleties we overlook, such as something as simple as putting a coffee mug back up the cupboard. thank you for your kind words.

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  7. Moving writing here, in the weaving of the narrator’s feelings with coffee… I could picture a couple enjoying a cup at a coffeeshop, and then the final image of the narrator standing in a doorway and drinking decaf (a great choice, fitting so well here) and saying goodbye and moving on.

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  8. Excelente narrativo. La facilidad de expresión, el tono, la historia, las imágenes. En fin todo exquisito como una rica tasa de café gourmet. Lo felicito, eres increíblemente TALENTOSO!!!

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  9. Pingback: The Last Brew | Alastair's Blog

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