Sunday, June 15, 2008

Virtual Coffee

I'm sitting upright in bed, letting the strength of the solid wood headboard support my back, resting my thoughts on my pillow. The sun is pouring into the room like spilt milk, the air is fresh and has a tiny bite, the neighborhood is eerily quiet except for the sound of the ducks echoing off the lake, the needles on the pine trees carrying their voices like transponders. H is laying next to me, her arm resting over her eyes as if to block her thoughts, and her breath is steady, deep; every inhale fills her lungs solid like water fills a glass, every exhale long, supple, peaceful. H is beautiful. Her rhythmic breath calms me. It's a moment all too often lost in the craziness of our life. A moment laden with simplicity, stillness.

I become more aware of my own breath. I watch the soft threads of cotton rest over my stomach, rising and falling with each breath; the beauty of the morning keeping me relaxed. I think about what moments like this will feel like when shared with a child. I think about the day ahead. I think about the laundry, the dogs, coffee. My thoughts are intermittently interrupted by the sounds of cars passing in the distance. I start to wonder where these people are headed. Is it Church? A quick trip to the store? Wives taking their husbands to breakfast? I recall my father and wonder if his morning ritual is filled with sounds? Is he enjoying coffee and a doughnut like he used to every morning when I was younger? If he feels different now that his children are grown and he wakes up to an empty house? I wonder if this silence has been broken by the phone ringing, one of his sons or daughters wishing him a happy fathers day?

My father lives in California with his wife. He remarried shortly after my mother passed away thirteen years ago. It is the rare occasion that I speak to my father, but we do try and talk at least once a year, usually during the Holidays. We've had our share of troubled times over the years. I've long since forgiven him for his inability to accept who I am. Now he is an elderly man with small glimpses of reality. At the age of 76, he is still fairly active, lucid with his thoughts, but he will forever be bound to the past. It's impossible for him to live in the present and see me as the woman I have grown into, that I really am. I'm no longer his little tomboy, who was better at just about any sport than any of his sons. My identification number is 6, like a barcode or systematic way for him to keep track of his children. As thoughts fire rapidly in my cerebellum, I wonder how things would be different if life hadn't taken us down this path. I stop for a moment and realize that it can be different, if only for a moment, right here, right now as I lay daydreaming.

As I continue to sit quietly, H remains resting peacefully, and I take my father out for virtual coffee. I imagine us sitting in a coffee house at a corner table, his head tilted slightly as he sips coffee, the cup almost too heavy for his aging hand. His brilliant white hair combed over the top of his head, his glasses resting heavy on the tip of his nose, using his index finger to push them to the bridge. I'm enjoying a Chocolate ring, wiping the glaze from the corners of my mouth with each bite. There is coffee house chatter in the background, but it doesn't interrupt our conversation. We talk about what fills his days, his health. The conversation shifts and I tell him about my job, H, the dogs, life in Seattle. I share our plans to have a child, that he will hopefully someday soon be a grandfather 24 times over. He is overjoyed, happy, peaceful. We talk for hours, just enjoying our time together.

Hey, Pop, thanks for the coffee and doughnuts.



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