I love coffee. I started drinking coffee when I was 15-years-old. We would go to the all-night diner in my hometown (the one with all the truckers and smokers, the diner my mom expressly forbid me from entering). At 1am, we’d sneak out of Alicia Biagioni’s house and walk two blocks to the Around the Clock Grill. We’d order a $2 waffle and bottomless coffee for $0.60. I would load my coffee with cream and sugar and feel very grown up while my older friends smoked and talked about poetry and music and naive philosophy. If I squinted hard enough, I could pretend I wasn’t in Granbury, Texas and that my life wasn’t actually boring.
My tastes have evolved since then. I still love coffee but have discovered I have to stop drinking it after 10am if I want to fall asleep by 11pm. (I’m kind of a nana.) I no longer load it with cream and sugar, usually preferring my French pressed coffee black. At coffee shops, I order an Americano. But still. There’s comfort to be found in regular old drip coffee, loaded with cream and sugar. And lately I’ve needed that comfort.
This morning I ordered my Americano, as usual. I chatted with my favorite Baristas at Neptune Coffee in Greenwood. As I took the coffee they handed me, I realized I was longing for some extra comfort, so I added some cream and sugar. As I said goodbye and walked toward my car, I took a sip. Instantly I was transported back to my naive youth and the smoky, familiar smell of the Around the Clock Grill. I stood on the sidewalk, eyes closed, remembering a time that was all at once simple and heartbreaking, when first love hurt the most and friendships were all or nothing.
The Firsts are always the best, the most delicious. The first bite of a super decadent dessert. The first sip of coffee, where you savor the aroma and the flavor, letting them roll around your mouth. The first kiss in a new relationship. The first time you and a friend work through an issue to reach forgiveness. Firsts are my favorite.
I’m halfway through my 29th year. So far, the theme has been Transition. Again and again, the Universe is teaching me the art of letting go. I let go of my relationship, and the plans we’d made, in order to heal. I let go of my college dream, at least for a little while. And now I’m letting go of my home, which is also forcing me to let go of a lot of past baggage.
When I moved to Seattle, my first roommate was wonderful. She introduced me to her friends, showed me around town, and made me welcome in a strange new city. And then one evening she pulled the rug out from under me. I discovered her friendship hadn’t been real, that she hadn’t been honest, and that she’d tried her hardest to hurt me (and my dog). I was alone and scared and wondered if I’d made a mistake in moving to Seattle. But the Universe took care of me, as always happens, and Miss D came into my life. She nurtured me and showed me an even greater future. She gave me hope and love when I needed it most. Yet even though I made it through a horrible situation, I’ve held on to the fear that it would happen again, that the proverbial rug would be pulled out from beneath me someday.
I’m heartbroken to say that it’s happened again. I am not innocent in what’s transpired, nor do I accept full responsibility. Sometimes things just don’t work out. And as a good friend told me this week, pre-marriage roommate situations are always temporary. We can only hope they end well. It’s a good lesson in communication and not letting things build up. It’s also a good opportunity, again, to learn how to let go. Still, I feel the sting of my past experience. I feel humiliated and rejected, guilty and regretful for my part in what’s transpired and indignant for the misunderstandings that could have been prevented through better communication.
But I embrace the good things that will come out of this. I believe my relationship with my roommates will ultimately be strengthened, once we’ve had some distance and time to work things out. Because greater than the hurt feelings and sadness is the love I have for them and the gratitude I feel for everything they’ve done for me. I have learned through this that I am in fact NOT perfect, that I’ve made mistakes and have been inconsiderate at times. (I’m just as shocked as you guys.) And finally, I believe with all my heart this transition will lead to something wonderful.
For the last six months, I’ve been given an amazing gift: time and space to heal from my broken heart. And I’m better now and ready to dive into something new, to develop new relationships, to learn new lessons, and hopefully, to take what I’ve learned from this and become a better person.
It’s time to take the first sip of a new season in my life. 29 has been a very difficult year, sure. But it’s also been the most important of my life. I don’t want to get all blah blah Phoenix from the ashes here, but there’s a little bit of that. So I can either hide away and let this year defeat me or I can savor the first sip of another transition, with excitement at what the future holds, what lessons are left to learn before I turn 30.
I’m going to take the first sip. I’ll just need to add a little cream and sugar to make it go down easier.
Bottoms up.
*Picture taken by my old roommate Dawn and sent to me as a loveful reminder of our friendship*

**I’d love to ask for your good thoughts while I look for a new place to call home. It’s scary to think of living with strangers, but all the best friends I have were strangers at one point.