The coffee cup made me remember the time you go; just me, near the window, alone. There was a time that the only thing I could do is think of you.
I woke up from a very troubled sleep today and tried to reach you on the bedside next to me. I realized you weren’t there anymore. With my eyes still closed, I again surveyed the pillow where your head was supposedly resting. It was empty. That’s when I knew it’s already quarter past six, the usual time you leave home for work.
I was still half asleep; struggling to get up, but the thought of the need to wake up motivated me to get out of bed to start my day. Alone again. I am used to this, considering the fact that I work at home pretending to be busy, waiting for my editor to call me and hoping he would tell me that the draft of my 3rd novel is doing well.
I could recall the time when I let you read the first few chapters of my book and you slowly getting a hint that the storyline is similar to my life when I was with my former girlfriend, Emma. We had a big fight months back and you kept telling me to move on. I did. I already did. That’s why I have you. Yet, I don’t know.
I picked up my old shirt from last night, and yours, on the floor, next to my desk. I put them in the laundry bin. But I put mine back on, and my cardigan. Pen and papers on the pocket? All of a sudden I paused. It used to be your doing, tidying the room. I told myself, wait. I think something’s missing.
Right. Coffee, I said. I need a cup of coffee. So I went downstairs to the kitchen to make one.
When I reached the kitchen counter, I suddenly realized that someone’s been sleeping on the sofa. I thought it was you. But it is was you. I know how you sleep. I know how you curl up when you sleep. When I cleared my throat to wake that stranger in my house, “You’re already up,” he said. He was wearing his tuxedo.
Why is he here? I asked myself. Ben is here. Six-thirty-two in the morning. I wanted to ask him that, but I didn’t. The glowing smile on his face greeted me. I smiled back, very quick. But it’s not it.
“Morning,” I said softly. And I went back to the overhead pantry to get the coffee, and the sugar, and the creamer. As I turned, I saw the kitchen tabletop, covered in your favorite white linen, was not how it should look. It’s not spot clean. It’s not how it used to be.
This is not so you, I whispered to myself. Strange.
Stain circled below a used white porcelain coffee cup, all left there. Not on the kitchen sink. You had coffee before you went out, I was guessing. Yes you did, because you love coffee, too. You forgave me once, twice, when I gave you a cup of coffee. That’s how easy to say sorry to you. We even drank coffee together, cuddled on the sofa, next to the big window facing the porch. We liked it so much I can still feel your breathing on my chest when you fell asleep that day.
And we talked about everything: our plans, our future, our ups, our downs. About you, about me. About us. Now, I am having one sip, and two, from the warm coffee cup. But I am alone. I think I miss you.
When I passed by Mr. Gomez’s house from the grocery store this morning, he waved at me and he said to say hello to you. I felt happy, but my hands were shaking. The bags were slowly off my grip. I wanted to cry, I wondered. Yet, I don’t know. I think I just so miss you.
I arrived home. The living room was empty without you here. I was having the feeling of wanting to be alone right now. Ben is still here. I can hear the running water from the bathroom. I’m glad that he’s here, really, but the fact that he’s here confused me. I tried to ask him. But the phone suddenly rang.
It did three times before I ran and grabbed it as quickly as I could to get it and answer it, and know who’s calling. I was wishing it’s the editor calling. But deep down inside, I was praying that was is you. Then, it went clear in my head that Ben told me earlier today that you wouldn’t call. You would never call. Ever. That happened before I decided to buy some groceries, which for me was new. You always do the groceries, don’t you? Today is mental. It’s not the usual.
I am so hot-tempered today. I don’t know. I really miss you now, I am sure.
I went out and walked straight to the porch to answer the call. Hello, I said, and your name that I missed followed. Ben tailed quickly from the bathroom, his hair is still dripping wet with water and white foam from the shampoo he missed to rinse.
And I was shaking again. That same feeling when I went from the grocery store and talked to Mr. Gomez. I was holding the mobile phone with my right hand, and on my left is that cup with a coffee I was trying to finish. But I couldn’t.
Without me knowing, I dropped my phone and went down far from the house. I didn’t notice Ben was calling me, shouting. But I didn’t care. All I wanted to happen is to be alone. It was not the editor who called. It was not even you who called.
It was your dad. Our dad.
He asked me how am I doing, how am I feeling. I was so worried that he worries a lot. I don’t want him to be that because I care for dad. And then, I sat down near the flower beds that we planted together, and the bamboos, while looking at my new wedding ring.
Yes, I remember we got married. It was yesterday. But why aren’t you here now? With me?
Why did you go?
The wind started to blow and hit my face. My tears traced to my cheeks down to my neck. And it went so silent I could hear the clapping of the bamboos. Hey, did you remember we argued last time about bamboos and you said they were grasses? I think you’re right. I asked dad that. He said they were.
I took the pen and paper from the pocket of my cardigan when Ben got nearer to where I was seated. I am writing you a letter because there are lots of things I need to tell you. The first thing is that I really love you. And I thank you.
The wind blew again. It helped me wipe my tears away. I don’t know. The clapping of the bamboos, the whispers of the bushes, the whistle of the soft wind like cries of sorrow and pain.
All I know now is that you’re not here. You’re no longer here, with me. You went away. I believe in Ben now. You will never call. Ever.
My whole world is weeping. My whole world is mourning because you’re already gone.
Say hi to my mom. Our mom.
“Coffee Cup” is an original literary work. A part of this short story is an inspiration from the song, “With You” from the Original Soundtrack of “Ghost, The Musical.”
Listen to “With You” on Spotify.