Disappointment tastes like Americano turned cold because you were too busy writing on your notebook about how you like your coffee, when you should have been drinking it. “I like my coffee the way I like my men” you used to say, “strong, dark and bitter.” But turns out you don’t really like its taste after the coffee has gone cold. Halfway through your cold bitter coffee, you almost want to give up. Which is when you also start to wonder why you ever loved the bitter coffee at the first place.
Of course you still love your coffee bitter, stronger, and darker. And of course you don’t mind at times, when it starts turning cold as you listen to your just-arrived-from-months-and-months-of-traveling friend. Or as you talk to your love who proclaims that he can’t seem to concentrate on anything anymore but somehow remembers every single word you wrote on your last assignment.
Only when you are alone, sipping the dark brown coffee as you read an email from your sister, does the coffee taste more bitter. The helpless weighs down on you as you read about how her lover refuses to seek help for his depression. And only when you are alone in a cafe full of lovers and best friends, laughing, whispering, and holding each other, you realize that your coffee is not how it used to be.
But it’s Your coffee and nothing has really changed. It is as strong as it was before – when you had a company. It is as bitter as it was when you were happy. It is as dark as it was when, both, you and your coffee were warmer.
It’s your choice that has changed. And that’s exactly what disappointment tastes like. That there is no one to blame but you, for letting your coffee turn cold as you were too busy focusing on your life instead of enjoying it.
Know that you can break my heart in millions of ways than it had been broken before. And the wounds you would leave behind would be so deep that it will take forever for the blood to clot. And I will have scars all over my soul, of cracks you left behind. Know that I was strong when those boys broke my heart. That I knew I would recover, it would just take some time. That I always heal. That I always move on. But you will forever be etched in my heart like a tattoo and the ghosts of your memories will forever haunt be like a childhood dream. Know that you leaving is something I prepare myself everyday for. Know that you leaving will still affect me anyway, in far worse ways that we can ever imagine. People leave or they die, I always say but know that you are not those regular people in my life. You were someone I would never risk having this close that we can listen each other breathing. You were always supposed to be far enough not to know hear the sound of our hearts skipping. Know that you are near now, and as much as I don’t want to burden you about you being home, but you are closer to it. Know that you were my friend first, the one I turned to in the middle of the night when my PMS is kicking in unknowingly. So I would rant and whine and say stupid things like I hate everyone but know that I never mean that. Yes, I hate people but you were never among those regular ones. Know that you were my friend first, someone I have always felt comfortable sharing my deepest secrets I never dared to share with anyone. You may not remember them and it’s okay. But just know that I will be lost completely if I lose you. Know that I will be empty if you run out. Know that none of those boys could ever break me but I would forever be broken if you decide to leave.
Know that you can break my heart in millions ways that it ever has been broken. Know that I just hope you won’t do it.
It’s not death I fear,
I would welcome it with an open arms,
Like an old friend I haven’t seen for forever,
Like you would welcome love.
What I am afraid is dying through suffocation
When you are in a room full of smoke,
And you realize that you only have these fumes
That burns your chest with every inhale, to breathe.
When you are choking on ether,
And you can’t really feel it because
There is nothing to choke on.
When you are in a close space
And the hot air you breathe out
is the air you need to breathe in.
When you are drowning in the sea
And you realize there is nothing you can do about it.
Every time you ask me how I am, I have no idea what to say. “Fine”, is not in my vocabulary but I haven’t reached the “Good” yet. I hate saying, “Okay” but since I think today was better than yesterday, I end up saying, “Better”. Sometimes I might end up saying, “Great” but I regret it immediately because I would only be feeling great at that moment and not entirely in life. I probably was feeling great because I might just have had a chocolate cake or watched a good comedy movie or finished a good book. I must have felt great because Kaka took me out for lunch, or because I met my old boss or just woke up from a four-hour-long nap. I don’t feel great all the time. I don’t feel good even or even better or even okay. Most of the times, I don’t know how I am feeling and I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing. What I know is that I am not sad anymore. I also know this is not emptiness because I can feel things, when I feel it. But am I happy? Is this a kind of happiness? I don’t know. So every time you ask me how I am, I have no idea what to say, so I end up saying, “Not sad” and maybe this is a good thing.
“When do you miss her the most?” he asked.
I looked away wondering how to give an answer to that. An answer that wouldn’t make me sad. An answer that wouldn’t make me realize, if I haven’t realized it already that I miss her. Outside, dust had settled down with the downpour of the afternoon. The sun was subtly setting, the hint of orange was slowly spreading in the cloud. It still felt like February although it was almost April. It still pinched my heart when I thought of her although it was almost a year since she was gone.
I tried to articulate an answer. But there was a lump in my throat and I had to fight the tears trying to roll out of my eyes. I took a deep breath and cleared my throat before opening my mouth and closing again. I didn’t dare to look at him.
“When I…” I said, trying to find my voice, raising it louder with each word. “… when I come back home and there’s no one asking me what happened to me that day. When I cannot sleep because my feet are ice-cold and freezing. When I am on my laptop on a Saturday afternoon, and no one calls me for a nap. When no one remembers that I hate kerau, any kind of peas and when people complain that I am still wearing four layers of clothes because I am that kind of person who always carries an extra layer because I feel cold easily. When I don’t know who to call first to say I will be late which I don’t want to at times because I will have to explain ‘why’. But I would have come back home to tell her everything anyway.”
I sighed, realizing I still didn’t have the confidence to look at his face. But the silence was deafening. I could sense that he was still waiting for me to say something more, so I asked, slowly looking at his face, “What about you? When do you miss her the most?”
And now it was his turn to look away.