Steamed Love in a Cup

Sarah - Rochester, New York
Entered on December 10, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that coffee is a necessity in every day life. Growing up, I was never a stranger to half- full cups left over in the car or stains on the couch cushions. My mom never seemed to function correctly, unless she started her day off with a fresh pot of that black goodness. This behavior seemed normal to me. In fact, it made me more eager to learn how to make that drink my parents always craved. To this day, it is still one of my favorite smells. It fills any room with such warmth, inviting you to pull up a chair, and some sit down. It’s the same feeling some people associate with home-cooked meals. Coffee like a Thanksgiving feast brings people together.

Just the other day, while waiting for yoga class to start and my friend Michelle to show up, I grabbed a large iced coffee from Java’s. I ran into a familiar face. That face belonged to Alex, who is a friend I’ve met through being at Java’s. Alex and I began talking when my friend Madelyn surprised me and sat down with us. The two of them had already known each other and began talking. I started noticing a pattern when Michelle showed up. Not awkward to the idea of sitting with a bunch of strangers and myself, Michelle introduced herself and jumped right into our conversation. Everybody joked and through the commotion I heard the same question; “Well, how you know Sarah? How’d you guys meet?” All of the answers were generally the same. Most of these people I have met at a coffee shop. Afterwards, Michelle and I went out for a cigarette. She said “I just met everybody you’ve talked to me about.” Dumbfounded by that statement and a little embarrassed by my repetitive story-telling, I said “Well, I guess you did.” Hearing her say that made me realized how much coffee has been a driving force in helping me connect to a larger and vast group of people.

Another time I had this same feeling, was on a double date. I was out with Ruben, Madelyn and Juan. I had my favorite chocolate soy chai; Juan had black coffee; Ruben had his cocoa and Madelyn had tea. Already in an awkward position of a double date, we all knew things would be a little weird. But once we got settled with our hot drinks placed in front of us, we were all able to relax. Everybody could talk now. The mood was light and it was such a good feeling to have all my favorite people at one little table. I wouldn’t want things to be any other way.

Going out for coffee isn’t always so light and breezy. I couldn’t imagine what talking to a friend about her father’s recent passing would be without a cup of coffee in hand. We met at Starbucks, her favorite place on a snowy Sunday night. Something was different in her voice and in her face. It was obvious the depression had sunk in. She needed somebody to talk to. I was glad I could provide a place to go, a listening ear and a hot beverage on such a cold evening.

Before we left, we put our coffee mugs on the counter for the barista to take. Seeing the residue left over at the bottom of my cup made me smile. It reminded me of home. I could almost hear my mom say, “Hey pull up a chair, come sit down.”