My Mistress Compares Herself to a Cup of Coffee

Oh, my love. You are the sweet jingling of my nerves. I feel you tickling my adenosine receptors. It's like those early swooshes on childhood's swing, the sub-navel flutter, happiness' ghost.

My Mistress Compares Herself to a Cup of Coffee

Oh, my love. You are the sweet jingling of my nerves. I feel you tickling my adenosine receptors. It's like those early swooshes on childhood's swing, the sub-navel flutter, happiness' ghost.

On the phone, the therapist wants to know how many coffees I drink. My answer punctures his staid, professional membrane.

"What? How many?"

Memories of the confessional's oaken asking. I look up, expecting crescent-lidded Christ. No such luck. "Ten."

"Ten?" His voice sounds like it's going places it didn't know it'd have to go, and now it's cold and alone in a field without a map, and the dusk is drawing down.

"Is that bad?"

I'm smirking. Of course I am. I relish the judgement. I get it every day. It's not judgement in any harmful way; it's the judgement of rolled-eye familiarity. "How many coffees is it today, Alex?" I know that I'm moving too much, that same blurry boy I've always been. I know that my words are tumbling over each other like a toddler chasing a pigeon. I know my eyes are glazed and my breath shallow stabs of mania.

But, caffeine, you slow me down. Right down. Or else, you bring the world's speed and my speed into alignment. See, I'm a time-traveller. I am. It's not that impressive – it's just nanoseconds, but it's enough. Watch me leave a phosphorescence in my wake.

I'm no good on a delay, like you'd have to whip my cassette out and twiddle a biro to get the ribboned mess of me back in. The slurred burble as the tape struggles to catch. Wear, tear.

Make it fast for me, my love. I am not myself, otherwise. I won't abuse you like before, with guilty fistfuls of Pro-Plus, the thunk-click of an energy drink. Lock and load.

Hey man

Slow down

Idiot

Slow down

I raise my next coffee to all of you. The three-AM blinkers and the blue-washed keyboard tappers. The moss-eyed parent who can't catch a break. The twitchy, the stretchy, the scratchy. Sleep's cloak swishes in your peripheral vision. Run, you might catch him. But no: turn instead to digital mockery.

Lavender spray. White noise. Fishhook a leg outside the covers. PMR. Breathe. Meditate.

Slow down

Idiot

Slow down

I turn to you. You're always awake, my love. As you bend to me and kiss my head, you spill. Your warmth, over everything.