Sometimes I have so much to say that it all rushes forward at the same time and bottle-necks at the exit. And nothing can get out and all my thoughts begin to panic. There is an uprising and then my thoughts are rioting, in their bid for freedom and this internal mêlée paralyses me. So I sit and try to calm the panic. I sit and try to restore order. I sit and stare. I sit and breathe. I sit and sit. And nothing comes out but there’s so much. Years of memories and theories and anecdotes and opinions. But they’re all fighting to be heard. To be told. They all want their day in the sun.
“Pick me!” they say “I’m a great story.”
But sometimes it’s the quiet little memory in the corner, hoping to go unnoticed that, in fact, gets your attention. Sometimes you are drawn to the one making the least noise because sometimes, they need the sun the most. So I motion to that sweet little moment in time and gently nudge them forward.
“Go on” I say gently “tell me.”
And they do. And it is beautiful.
It’s very early in the morning. My mum and dad and baby brother are all sleeping. But I’m not. I’m awake and reading in bed. I read whenever I can but I’ve been reading for a while and I think it’s time to start the day. I head down the hall to the kitchen in my nightie. I don’t make much noise because I’m small and my feet are bare. I am four.
My dad likes to start his day with coffee. I know this because I see my mum make it for him every morning. Today I am going to make his coffee. Because I love him and it will be nice for my mum to have a rest. I get his favourite cup. I’m very proud of myself because mum keeps the cups in the high cupboards but I’m clever. I pull out the drawers and use them as steps to reach the high cupboards. I get the tin of coffee and put some in the cup. 2 big spoonfuls looks about right and I’m very pleased that I remember Dad has sugar too. I put in 4. One for each of my years. All good instant coffee is made with water from the kettle. I’m not allowed to turn it on so I don’t. I pour the cold water from the kettle into Dad’s favourite cup but only half way. I haven’t forgotten the milk! I fill the rest of the cup to ALMOST the top and stir up that morning coffee.
It takes me the longest time ever to get back down the hallway to my mum and dad’s bedroom because I can’t move too fast or I will spill the coffee. So with two hands I gingerly make my way across the house in my nightie and bare feet and slip into their darkened room. They are STILL asleep so I put the coffee next to my dad and climb into bed with him to wake him up. Which he does, almost immediately. His moustache tickles me when he kisses me good morning. But I don’t care. I love it.
“I made you a coffee Daddy”
My mum sits up bolt upright. “Tania! You KNOW you’re not allowed to use the kettle!” She’s mad at me and she looks scared so I tell her that I know. And I didn’t. And she calms down. Until she sees the cup. “How did you get that cup down?!”
I explain everything and everyone is calm again and then I wait, expectantly for my dad to try his coffee. He exchanges [possibly pained] looks with my mum and sits up in bed, with me tucked under his arm and starts his day with my cup of coffee. Every. Last. Drop.
The memory of that cold cup of coffee keeps my soul warm.