‘We don’t need another narrative.’


There was a time when he had brought her coffee in bed. He had, while she slept, ground the beans, heated the water, mixed the grind in the glass jar, and, after it had sat for a few minutes, pushed the French plunger down gently. Then, he poured her her cup, and carried it upstairs where she was sleeping in. He did not wake her. And, later when she had come downstairs, she had said, “Thank you.” Eventually, he made coffee downstairs for himself and did not carry a cup for her upstairs where she was sleeping in, or weeping, or suffering. Over time, he could no longer bear that. The blandishments of suburban life became like window putty that never exactly dries but which seems to keep out some rain and moisture. Nothing seemed to really work anymore. He would make a second pot even, and await her descent, gauging by how much her mouth was turned down or how straight she held her lips, and by the downcast way her eyes themselves were turned, how bad she was. He became himself sarcastic and honest at the same time, speaking of himself in the third person and how, like finely pre-ground coffee beans in a bag from a grocery store shelf, he had himself become ground down, pulverized to next to nothing. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I don’t want to be this way for you.” “I know,” he said once, and would sometimes touch her shoulder, even though he was a little afraid to.

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