Black, Brown, Tan

The refrigerator’s thick hum woke him. Adam slowly rolled around in bed to wake his muscles before pulling the thick down blanket off. It was only three in the morning and he could still get an hour of sleep before having to get ready for school. Instead, Adam wanted to edit his poem.

He let himself have a nice bowel movement, a strangely odd experience, and one that often inspires a state of heightened self-awareness at such an hour, before heading to the other end of the apartment where he could make himself a cup of coffee.

The blend was a traditional, authentic, store brand. A medium, robust flavor that dances across the tongue in floppy, spiked slippers. He bought the bag six months ago and has never been able to finish it until now due to the random coffee cravings that, as it appears, can be satisfied by a ten-dollar large bag of coffee from the grocery store. Adam packed the remaining powder into the filter, filling it to the brim. It would be at least twelve cups worth of caffeine-fortified nutrition, the usual binge amount. As the coffee was brewing, Adam went into the fridge to grab the french vanilla coconut milk creamer. It was the only kind that didn’t give him acid reflux.

The first cup Adam poured was nearly half full of foam capped, jet-black roast. It was time to dial down the bitterness by introducing the sweet coconut milk creamer. First, he poured it into a tablespoon, filled it, then dunked the spoon into the mug before giving it a few generous stirs in both directions, repeating the process four times. Then, he had to smell it, because it was the smell that told you if it was sweet enough when it was too hot to sip. However, the smelling became a formality by this last batch. The piping hot first sips had thickened his tongue and heightened the tolerance for hot liquid. The aromatic steam developed into a sensory memory, the one which formed the experience of making coffee for Adam, even though it does not serve the same practical purpose as before.

Adam took a drink and tightened his mouth against the heat. It tasted flat, like an awakened memory of consistently bad sleep, or the enduring dullness of dried corn husks.Yet, it was all new at first; an initial greeting of the taste buds, the sparking of familiarity and steady thrum of neural pathways traveling to the brain, then back, to say, “This is delicious. Great job.”


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