If she could talk of dreams, she’d tell you a twenty acre parcel abutted on three sides by BLM was calling her name out Montana way. She’d have her husband use all his skill as a contractor to build them a house, something off-grid, and a garden as well. Maybe they’d have goats again, if she could get her boys interested in FHA, or maybe pigs, or why not a cow…no, not a cow, maybe a steer. At any rate, that’s what she’d tell you if she could talk of dreams.
Another night without sleep meant another night without actual dreams which also made the metaphorical dreams hard to remember. Out of bed, dressed in the usual attire of jeans and a pullover sweatshirt, she waited impatiently for the water to boil as her boys played oh so terribly loudly in the living room. Nights like that always left her feeling hung over and she didn’t even get to enjoy the getting drunk. Terribly unfair.
Water boiling, she lifted the copper kettle, turned the dial on the gas burner, and poured the water into her prized piece of kitchen equipment: a stainless steel French press that made exactly enough coffee for her favorite angry bluebird mug, which was probably enough coffee for two people but luckily her husband abhorred the stuff and let her enjoy it all. Putting the press on gently without plunging, she turned to the next task. Somehow just knowing coffee was on the way, or perhaps the soothing smell of it was working it’s magic, allowed her to move on to other things despite her blistering headache.
Pulling clean plates out of the dishwasher and stacking them in the cupboard, she began unloading the dishwasher as the boys started laughing. She couldn’t help but smile and think how even without sleep she was still the luckiest woman she knew. Moving on to the utensils she decided she’d let the boys make themselves useful later by having that be their job. Pulling the salad bowl out, she pushed the bottom dishwasher rack back in and pulled the top rack out.
Her husband always unloaded the top rack first. Inevitably the previously dry dishes on the bottom rack would become wet because there was always some water left in the spinning arm or on the top of the bottom of a mug so that if you jarred the rack or turned over the mug the water now dripped onto the dishes on the bottom rack. If you emptied the bottom rack first, however, no such problems and dry dishes remained dry all around. It seemed obvious. But then again, much of the dishwasher seemed obvious to her, like a game of Tetris. She thought it would be fun to have a load-off challenge in which they each had a turn to the load the dishwasher with as many dishes as possible, leaving room for each dish to actually get clean, and see who could put the most dishes in.
This was her idea of fun.
The dishwasher empty and enough time having past, she turned to her press and rested her hand upon the plunger. It slowly, ever so slowly, made it’s way down. She savored this moment. It wasn’t just the ritual of the thing: grounds, hot water, wait, plunge, pour. It was so much more. It was the sensuousness of it all. The delayed gratification. The waiting.
Her husband often asked her why she didn’t just get a coffee maker. She could. Why not? It would be faster, she could set everything up the night before and let a timer dictate when to brew, she could make more when they had company. It was a valid question. But it was also ridiculous. A machine could not duplicate the perfection that came from the press. A machine would not allow her to be a vital part of the process. A machine would make coffee that tasted burnt, acidic. The press made coffee perfection.
On the rare day when she had more than one cup, the very rare day, she sometimes wondered herself why she didn’t just get a damn machine already. Or on the rare days, the very rare days, when they were running late to somewhere and she had to take her coffee on the go or go without entirely because of the time required of the brewing process, oh on those days she swore she was finally going to buy a damn machine already. But she never did.
Pouring a finger full of oat milk into her mug she proceeded to pour the press out over the milk. It mixed beautifully, as usual, a visual delight in addition to the fabulous smell. She looked forward to that first sip from the time she finished her cup of coffee one morning to the time of the first sip the next morning. Very few things could claim so many senses at once, required so much attention, demanded so much presence. It was almost like a meditation.
She could probably sell it as a meditation. Put some dog and pony show together about all the beneficial reasons for coffee in the morning, meditation in the morning, the combining of those things. Hell, if they could sell people on goat yoga she could probably make a few pretty pennies on coffee meditation. Not a bad idea. She filed it away to review on a day that wasn’t already doomed by lack of sleep and thunderous headache.
She moved on to the next task, breakfast. She’d had a dream the other night about making pancakes for everyone, layering sliced fruit beautifully around each plate to really make the pancakes extra special. She decided today was as good a day as any. It would be a treat for everyone, which made it a treat for her. She pulled out the bowl they always used for pancakes, the bowl that was rarely used for anything else, and began pulling out a throwing in ingredients. They’d made pancakes so many times she no longer truly measured, just eyeballed. She always made them slightly different though: pecans she’d battered with a hammer into itty bitty pieces and lots of dust, frozen blueberries in the winter when fresh berries were hard to find, cinnamon and allspice and a hint of nutmeg, a bit of pureed pumpkin, chopped strawberries, whatever sounded good that hadn’t been added in awhile. Today she kept them simple with just a hint of cinnamon. The surprise would be the plates, not the pancakes.
As the cakes cooked on the griddle she began slicing bananas and setting the slices all around the circular edges of the plates. Rinsing blueberries she placed one on every other slice of banana, all around the circle on every plate. Then rinsing and slicing the strawberries she placed a strawberry piece on every untopped banana. It was just as pleasing as she’d dreamed. She couldn’t wait to see their smiles. It would be even prettier with a pancake steaming in the middle. Beautiful and delicious.
~~~That’s one hour~~~