Morning Coffee

Mid-morning and I bring my mom a bowl of pistachios on round metal tray and coffee for us to share. She’s still laying on her back in her bed, with her knees up to relieve her hips, and her arms are bent, holding her cup precariously, as if it’s going to spill. She says she hasn’t had someone bring her breakfast in bed since Ken died, and I watch as she carries the white ceramic cup to her lips, and the dark liquid disappears to visible teeth curled corners as a stream of small stories slip, and she prompts if I remember summers when I was a kid at the rental cabin in Salisbury with Tim and Jeremy. Her hair is yellow and gray, and her eyes slink at the top, but are powder blue and sparkle while she tells me how grateful she is for her life, the big family she’s always wanted and her church community. The pistachios crumble easily in my teeth, but I taste salt when pulling the shells apart with them. I watch as her vision seems to look further than where we are in her mermaid green carpeted room, and I am keeping my composure as she describes my when I was an infant, and how my limbs were stiff and I just couldn’t seem to relax. She said the doctors didn’t know what to do with me, or how to treat me because they weren’t sure what drug my biological mother had been addicted to at the time of my birth. I look away from her eyes, and the spilling coffee to a brown primitive wallboard that holds a comforter on a two foot dowel, and painted below is an idiom of home, crafted by hands grateful as her own. A steady and quiet stream of tears emerge hidden in my heavying eyes, as her grin turns to an unexpected soberness as she recounts how I’d just scream and scream, and the only thing that calmed me were the sing songs she sung day in and out. I sip the bitter and hot water, and I feel an electric and cold alarm in my chest when I realize I see the bottom of the ceramic cup and that morning coffee will end.