Stain the Inside Dark (creative nonfiction)

My first instinct is to tell you that my coffee habit is boring, but really it’s not. I had worked up to bankrupting myself with four k-cups a day so I moved on to doing my coffee in the French press. Much more caffeine bang for your buck. I put in a scoop for each squirt of the Keurig, each 10oz squirt. I thought that was a lot and then I realized it should be 8oz, well, I guess I’m not as fast and furious as I thought I was.

I smoked some weed not too long ago and it gave me a three hour long panic attack where I thought my heart was going to explode and I would surely die jogging around the back yard to try to burn off the adrenaline. I jogged 4.5 miles that day. After that, I had chest pain for three days and was terrified of drinking any coffee at all lest it perk up my exhausted heart and start me into another health crisis or a panic attack the felt like a health crisis. And I thought, on the one hand that wasn’t fearing for my life, oh good! This is how Michelle gets off caffeine. What a handy little blessing and all I had to pay for it was a three hour long heart attack. Felt steep in the moment, but surely I would get over it in time, right?

I have to say not really. Just writing about it, I can feel a cold terror pouring down on me over the top of my head and right into my chest that has not been panic attack free since the “weed incident.”

But that was not how I got off caffeine at all. I just had to work myself back up to 26oz of French press coffee with just a little bit of 2% milk to top off my Yeti. The milk is sort of useless. I don’t actually taste it. I might as well put in a few cubes of ice like you do with soup that’s too hot, so ineffectual is this milk. But god says milk is good for me. I think he meant in larger quantities, but some goodness is better than none, so I splash it to top of my black as night, oily coffee in my scuzzy Yeti that I rinse but don’t really wash.

I took a ceramics class once where the teacher, who looked just like Jesus but with blue eyes, and who insisted on making deep eye contact, which was kind of hot actually even if he did look like Jesus—we were all sitting around the room where you color the pots, not a clue, oh yes, glaze. Where you glaze your badly made, crooked crockery, and he said you might want to glaze your coffee mugs a dark color on the inside if you’re one of those people who don’t wash your coffee cups. My best friend looked at me, right in the eyes like blue eyed Jesus did, and I said, “Why is everyone looking at me?” Because, in my mind, the whole room made Jesus style eye contact with me at that moment. That’s right, we all know your sins. We all know your coffee cups are stained.

Look, here’s the thing. Coffee is just black water. How often would you wash a cup that you just had water in? Well, maybe you would, but I wouldn’t do that either. And the milk kind of sits on top, so I run a sponge around the rim, because not washing a milk cup is actually gross, then I rinse out the sediment that the French press can’t get and I’m good to go.

The Yeti isn’t glazed dark, but it’s once silver is stained almost dark as night now so, hey Jesus, mission accomplished.

-M. Ashley

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