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You thank your barista and return to your sunlit seat by the window. You exhale. With serene anticipation you draw the heated ceramic mug to your lips and, to make this feeling last– even if only for a stolen moment– you allow yourself to pause the worries that swirl furiously through your over-worked, under-stimulated, partially-dysfunctional, mostly-out-to-get-you mind. Finally.
Steam from your cup curls around you and swaddles your face. It beckons you closer to take a sip, rolling fierce and calmly over chin to cheek, leaking warmth as precious as the humming rays pushing lazily through the window at your side. You lean in slightly. You inhale. As you do so the coffee-borne wisps burst tempestuously to life beneath your nose: sticky red honey licked from your fingers long after the baklava had gone; mandarin-soaked shirt and forearms at the pick-your-own Floridian orchard; blueberries that grew wild in your grandmother’s back yard.
You remember the soil, rocky and dampened always by the salted seaborne air. Overgrown tendrils of curious trees– trees whose names grandma would one day teach you: juniper, hickory, ash– leaned protectively into the yard, creating a shady oasis for digging and playing. Within this fortress chipped pots of soil morphed to goblets of endless milkshakes. Sun-faded garden tools transformed to swords and fairy wands in your hands, stained blue by the berries that grandma always knew you snuck from her bushes. Moss squished and chilled your toes when you chased Fritz through the weeds, his yap drowning out the shouts from nearby houses in tongues you couldn’t understand.
You used to say you knew good coffee when you tasted it. But now, drawn in and guided through forgotten memories by a sense so rarely appreciated, you recognize the cup of coffee between your hands as something so much more than a caffeinated beverage. It carried you through time, even if only for a stolen moment.