literature

death before decaf

He thinks differently at night. He’s more dramatic. More far-seeing, perhaps, but often to the expense of his optimism, his soul drooping from the weight of the world upon it. Problems become disproportionately big, and the shadow they create even bigger. But when morning comes, the corners of his mind that had grown dark and grim are filled with the sun’s radiant promise of fresh possibilities. Every new day is a fresh start and a chance to make the choices for himself that seemed impossible under the oppression of night.

Perhaps, the alarm goes off, and the hand that finds the snooze button still lingers between worlds; between the night that tormented, the dreams that freed, and the morning that reminds. But his feet know better than to listen to his hands. They are the ones that take him places, whereas hands merely press the snooze button over again. So they drag him out of bed, trusting that if they walk him to the right place, the hands will know how to brew the drink that will revive him. As he shuffles his way to the kitchen, the dreams he had in the night pop their face in and out of his consciousness. There is much strangeness there. He’s wades in it with dull curiosity. Behind it lies the soundless memory of the eve. He approaches it until he stands right at its edge, with great risk of slipping back into the mirky pond of hopelessness. He loses his footing, more than once; he almost falls in, but the hands reach the jar of beans just in time. And with his brain on automatic pilot, he opens it and pours some into the grinder. But, no, life is too much, he thinks. He should just go back to bed. With weak intention, he holds down the button and the beans crack and crinkle in a lovely way. A glimmer of wellness sparks within. But it dies just as quickly when the grinding stops, and he wants to quit everything he ever started, to rot away in his bed where he can just go on sleeping forever. The kettle whistles and beckons to be emptied onto the grinds he’s just put in the reusable cloth filter. His dreams have died but he still needs to save the planet. The liquid tar streams into the cup with the broken handle, the cup that has been loved to pieces because it is just the right size, and his eyes widen. The steam rises, bringing joy to his senses. He wants to go back to bed, but his sleepy mind is sharp enough to know that just a few seconds away, there is salvation for his shadow self, forewarned by the heat seeping into his palms through the walls of the handle-less cup. A stir of sugar to sweeten the bitter awakening, a drop of milk to smoothen the ride, and meaning is brought back to living. He sips. He remembers the night, still, but it shrinks to a dot in a sea of light. It was a false alarm, there is no need to panic. He feels good about staying awake. At this rate, his whole perspective could be revolutionized, his purpose in life rediscovered, even, if he could just make it to the shower.

(Check out www.blanketsandfrankincense.com for more flash and poetry)

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