If we met, by chance, atop the 5:00am train to Brighton, I would ask that you share breakfast with me. A cup of coffee, or maybe two; with a Tuna Cucumber Mayonnaise sandwich, or maybe not. You will sit with me, as we await the steaming cup of magic– yours light with cream, mine black like my soul.
If we were having coffee, i’ll tell you you are a better person. You’ll be stunned speechless, amazed, wondering where that came from; and I would move on to explain to you, after my first long drag of the thick black liquid in my cup, how I think you are the way you are. You are better, in how you listen to me– as I ramble on about myself, my views and every other thing. You see, I am a talker; I talk so much and so long until ‘m done… then I make to listen, no, try to listen… and once you start talking, I remember half a dozen more things I meant to say before you started and I start talking again. And you listen, again. To listen is to open one’s mind to possibilities yet to be discovered; but to listen, consciously and attentively, is to learn. You are an effortless learner.
You will smile. And I will smile. Then take another long drag of my coffee as you make to speak. And I will cut in again– hastily, rudely, but unintentionally; as I eagerly continue my rant about why I think you better. You are kind. Oh, very kind. The way you meet myself, and everyone with a big warm smile like life couldn’t be any fuller– is the most daring thing ‘ve ever seen. Yet you have your problems, I know you do. In those few seconds when I let you speak, while I listen unconsciously; you talk about your failing health, and your slow progress at work, and how you hate to be alone. You have these problems, dear friend, yet you smile radiantly. In your shoes, I couldn’t. And while not facing half the might of problems you face even now, I save my smile for special occasions. It doesn’t make me stingy or mean, but it makes you kind. And kindness graces your being, like hair on skin.
Now, you will be smitten. Close to tears even. Because you will not have been expecting these kind of words from someone like me. I am not a bad person, but I am not a free person either. I don’t go dishing compliments where they have not been earned. And I will tell you, you’ve earned this alright. And I will continue…
You are coy, wisely so. You make me take the lead ever so often; cowering, somewhat behind my wavering un-gps-d guidance, only offering your words in trickles and bits just when ‘m nearing the brink of despair– and you are ever so timely, and ever so right. Or nay, that’s me being modest. I love to take the lead, and you let me. Always. It’s in the “letting“, that I find you most humble. And oh, you possess such insight I don’t even have the grace to dream of, yet you “let” me feel like ‘ve got it– like I could handle the world, if it were laid at my feet. It is a strategy, a wise way to learn. But how you humour me, is how I adore you. Your grace is be-dazzling.
And it is not that you are perfect, I will continue. You are coy, something between straight and crooked; yet your virtues absorb your flaws. I wish that I would learn these virtues for myself one day. But learn? How poor I listen. So maybe you’ll teach me soon, how to be me, in such ways that reflect wisdom and grace– like you. No, I don’t want to be like you. I will emphasise. I want to be like me, if only, a better version. I will conclude, I want to be a better person. Just as you are a better person.
You will be too much smiles and tears now, that your coffee will seem to bemoan its cold fate. I will smile too, being very glad to have spoken my mind. And I will thank you for coffee, and every minute you spend with me despite my very obvious flawed foibles nearing the point of hamartia. But I will not let it take me down– these flaws, because now I have found in you, a teacher. I will now sip the remainder of my cold bland black coffee, savouring the non-existent taste and its sharp invigorating scent; as I contemplate on buying another round– for us. I will smile again, and catch you looking at me, intently. And I will wonder what it is you might be seeing…
Here’s an ode to Coffee mornings that I never have; and to the special muse, who kept me awake all night with these thoughts. Hey, let’s have that coffee soon– and often!
© The Short Black Girl, 2016.