the coffeepot stands on the kitchen bench, untouched for several months. it’s been ignored in favour of a line of teapots, separate pots for different varieties, a routine carving itself out over time.
two cups of energizing in the early morning, the second of which is poured into a travel cup; one of plain black tea at lunchtime and green in early evening, after dinner. last is peppermint, supposedly calming for sleep. sometimes it works, but sometimes it’s more the effect of having a routine be carried out. it’s calming, soothing: she puts one-third of a teaspoon of honey in the teapot, lets it dissolve in boiling water, and relaxes.
here, she knows what to do and what needs to be done.
for months she buys a variety of tea, lines and stacks them all in the pantry until the bland beige wall is hidden behind a mess of colour and cute fonts and there’s a stack of tags littering the cupboard floor from where she rips them off in a hurry.
the coffee sachets go untouched as well, pushed to the side until there’s only the one package left and it dwindles down slowly.
it turns around to winter and the apartment is cold. the space-heater she ordered online hasn’t come yet and she waits miserably, exhaling to see if her breath is visible and eating dinner on the bed, the better to get straight in after for the warmth. the tea doesn’t feel quite so warming now; it feels familiar and comfortable, there’s nothing new in it.
she finds the pack of coffee beans and on unfamiliar hands feeds them into the machine, hesitant from lack of practice. the brew smells different to what she remembers, and she lingers at the bench – can almost feel the craving for the coffee, as if a physical force is pulling her closer.
it’s ready, and she pours into the designated cup. it’s richer than all the teas, heady and strong and her heart rate picks up (somewhere in the back of her mind she thinks, her tolerance must be minimal). even just smelling it feels cozy and warm, luxurious somehow in a way the tea doesn’t.
she settles under the covers with a book and the sturdy tray especially for balancing hot drinks, sips its warmth slowly.
outside, it looks like a blizzard.