Smell The Coffee – A Short Story
One of the best ways to wake up on a cold winter morning, other than with morning-after sex which is the very best way to wake up, is to wake up to a nice hot cuppa filter coffee, the aroma of which filling the nostrils up in a “hello, morning’s come” kinda wake up alarm and the heat cupped in the palm as a gentle reminder to sip and not to gulp to get the best of the bittersweet taste in the tongue taste buds. Especially when you are accustomed to the same way of waking up every morning for years and years, the bed coffee becomes a rite of passage and an institution, with time, which you are loathe to let go of, despite any other change in your life circumstances.
So when we recently shifted houses to a new apartment I insisted on continuing the same morning routing which I had been following for the past 60 years or more. This was a bit tough on my wife for she has recently developed arthritis of both legs and finds it difficult to wake up early on mornings. So even though one of my daughter-in-law’s volunteered to make my early morning cuppa I still prefer my wife to fetch it for me to my bedside, for if I am anything I am a creature of habit and its difficult after so many years of living together to wake up to the face of someone else other than the familiar spouse.
Of course there had been a bit of kerfuffle recently, when we shifted house here for some malicious rumours had been spread by competing real estate brokers, business rivals I suppose, of the real estate agent who had sold me this house, that this place was vacant without possession for so long a time because it was haunted by the ghost of a previous occupant’s wife and said ghost being very particular in chasing away other occupants by either frightening them or killing them off if they refused to be frightened away into vacating the place.
I disbelieved it entirely from the very first i heard of it, but the people in the house were slightly disturbed by the rumour and kept muttering about how cheaply we had got the place having something to do with the fact of the rumour. But as I kept reminding them as as retired pensioner this was very best I could afford and ghost or no ghost we would have to put up with this- at least until I die, when my heirs could sell this off and move away to wherever they wanted. This house or my death- I had put my foot down and hoped that would be the end of all discussion.
So this morning, a cold muggy morning I woke up to my usual smell of my usual brand of filter coffee and accepted the cup -steaming hot and sipped it slowly still with eyes closed and looking forward to my usual retired life – a day filled with relaxation and small talk with my wife interspersed by meals at regular intervals unlike the hectic work life I had been a part of all these years. As I finished my coffee and still without opening my eyes, placed it on the side table, leaving it for my wife to come back to collect the empty cup later, I remembered something which caused a mild discomfort in my chest.
I remembered that my wife and kids and grandkids had left the previous day for a vacation to our native place and though I grumbled at the expense I had secretly looked forward with pleasure at a few days of absolute solitude and living alone in my new life. That’s when the crushing pain in my chest started when I started wondering about whose hand had anded over my usual cup of coffee when I had closed and bolted all the doors safely last night before retiring to bed alone in the house. As I am lying here on the bed clutching my chest and breathing hard, sweat poring off my face, I wish I had strength enough to get up and go check in the kitchen if there really was an empty cup of coffee in the kitchen sink waiting to be washed or if I had imagined everything.
But the taste, the taste of a fresh strong cuppa of the best coffee, it still lingered on my tongue. I still maintain that there is nothing to beat waking up to a nice hot cuppa filter coffee, unless to die for it.