Januaried

Two scoops of finely ground coffee, preferably dark roast. But medium works too.

Water. In the kettle. On the Stove. A splash of just over eight ounces.

Boiling water goes over the coffee.

Four minutes elapses.

The grounds are pressed out of the water.

The rest is poured into a mug.

Two teaspoons of sugar. Four to five teaspoons of heavy cream, depending on my mood.

I take my first sip.

Perfection.

I’m usually in my sitting room with a view of the small front yard, but today I sit at the kitchen table and survey the backyard I affectionately call The Dovecote Garden.

It’s still green out there, Camellia buds ready to pop, but the brown is the main attraction in winter. Part of my yard is still recovering from the large dogs the previous owner kept chained up years ago; soil tilth is gone. I tried in vain to fix it last year, but this year, I’m sure I have the skills to make the barren land green (says the infecund lady with an infertile pomegranate bush).

I don’t know if the year has been rough because it was 2020 or if the signs of aging would have appeared without the antics it brought. Among friends, I see the gray hairs, the extra pounds, the shine of youth gone from their faces. There’s no plank in my eye, I see it on myself as well; only the extra weight on my hips is not my metabolism, it’s my fork. It lingers so long, it’s become part of me.

I’m surprised the United States Geological Survey hasn’t contacted me about mapping the lines on my face. They multiplied and got so deep this year; I’m still not used to seeing them in the mirror. Is it the stress? My age? The fact that I am always outside in the sun and wind? Of course, I get night sweats every four weeks. Mittelschmerz is an event now. My body’s set on sliding into middle age, but I’m still doing the same things I was at twenty-two. I haven’t slowed down; some would argue I’ve never grown up. I don’t have the aches and pains that plague my peers. I’m like an alcoholic – I don’t pay for a seven mile walk the next day with a whole body hangover. I’m ready to do it all over again, after coffee, of course. I’m a walking paradox.

It’s been a weird January. The sky is falling, I’ve been warned, and to get my affairs in order. I understand spit valves are a necessity, but I still don’t want them emptied on my stage. Others have grabbed my hand as if they’re on their deathbed, no words are needed. We are together in solidarity, we understand what’s at stake. There’s no use speaking about it. I won’t be heard anyway. I’ll be treated like a discolored asymmetrical mole: cut out, make sure you get margins! I can’t stomach the gaping hole it will leave behind. So I remain silent while my heart beats out of my chest.

When push comes to shove, you’ll know where I’ll be. 

The future seems pretty sure of itself, but what if I’m not ready for the future just yet?

Nonetheless, I boldly step forward.

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