If we were having coffee


If we were having coffee today
we would reach a new level of intimacy
I would learn your deeper history
you would speak of your trials and your triumphs
I would listen, and where approriate
I would console and congratulate

If we were having coffee today
I would tell you that this evening
we are having a birthday celebration
a happy family get-together
I wouldn’t mention that my youngest daughter, Laura
won’t be joining us
because she is not welcome in her sister’s home
I let you know that my eldest Grandson
will be nineteen tomorrow

If we were having coffee together
I would tell you I rarely feel well these days
the leaden ache in my shoulders and neck
is creeping into my head
I get confused and often feel dizzy
I’m always tired and I want to sleep
yet I avoid going to bed,

because I’m always trying to catch up with time
I’m always behind where I once was ahead

if we were having coffee together
I would give you too much information
and then shrug, make little of it
change the subject
I would tell you that Laura is doing well
that she seems ready to go into recovery
I would suggest that her lack of ability
to concentrate on, or understand
the things which are said are likely due
to short-term memory loss
which is probably temporary
I’ll tell you that she assures me she is going to
continue to live

I won’t make you uncomfortable, because
I have practiced smiling with my eyes

If we were having coffee today
I would tell you that Paul is doing his best
that it has been difficult for him

since he came out of prison
that things will be better now
because he is coming home to us
I would look out of the window, avoid your eyes
and say all will be well

I would probably notice a doubing glint
so, again I would smile with my eyes

If we were having coffee together today
I’d distract you with carrot cake
I’d addle your empathic responses
with distractions, having prepared myself
by checking the books on the cafe shelf
I would leap from my seat, shrieking
“The Pied Piper of Hamelyn! This you have to see!”
and pull out a beautifully illustrated
fairy tale written for adults
I would whip up humour for dessert

If we were having coffee today I would conjure up
a basketful of giggles, a bucket of hilarity
as a salve for those ears I so recently infiltrated
and leave them ringing with laughter

For Writing 101. Day 10

©Jane Paterson Basil



21 thoughts on “If we were having coffee

  1. if we were having coffee today I would believe everything you told me. And through my tears I’d try to make you laugh.But my cancer, four cerebral strokes, fractured spine, and life limiting agoraphobia would stop me doing anything practical to help you. However, I hope my prayers would.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I like this method of writing. It really does feel more intimate. You probably wouldn’t have told me about your health issues if we hadn’t been sharing a cup of coffee over the internet. Your words serve to remind me that whatever disastrous choices my two younger children have made, I am still in comparitively good health, and I thank you for that.
      The trials of life come in many different shapes. Your body has mounted an unreasonable amount of campaigns to destroy you. Two of my children have found stupid ways to destroy themselves, and I am stuck in the fallout.
      My own kind of prayers go out to you.
      Your complex health issues must make it necessary to attend medical appointments. How do you cope with those?


  2. in many ways, Jane, I am very lucky to have a loving wife and two sons to do an awful lot to help me. My phobia has been with me all my life since I was 5 years old but I always fought my fear, at school, at university then for thirty years as a war correspondent. My recipe of pills,prayers and Pernod got me through five major conflicts – Algeria in the hols of 1961, Vietnam Feb 68 to August 71 followed by a year rpairing my back aftr a helicopter crash, Belfast, Falklands and then the middle East. That was when my doctors finally told me to stop the pills and the Pernod as my body wouldn’t take it any more. So for the past 20 years I’ve worked from home tutoring and writing for several French and Commonwealth publications. So though my physical abuse to control my anxiety gave me the illnesses that now restrict me I’ve been much luckier than you. You will stay in my prayers and thanks for yours. ciao. Anton

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A war correspondent – I’m impressed. It’s an interesting way to fight agoraphobia; going to some of the most frightening places in the world and put yourself in the line of fire. Rather than effecting a cure, that first-hand knowledge of man’s inhumanity to man adds rationality to the phobia.
      So relieved to learn you have a loving family behind you.


  3. An interesting way of looking at the psychological side of irrational fear, I just hate being beaten at anything so maybe my phobia and I are tied at scores level. But the love I have given and received is really what has got me through. 🙂 Anton

    Liked by 1 person

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