Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
by Ariel Whitworth
I call you to tell you I am in the cafe getting coffee. Only I don't drink coffee and you know this. But coffee is a word that we use to indicate that the appointment is casual and has no involvement beyond the bottom of the cup. Coffee is quick and immediate and dirty. Bitter and energizing. A business engagement, a joe.
Not like tea, which I am drinking. Simmering, leafy, Sunday morning tea. Meant for sipping and steeping. The kind you'd pair with Tchaikovsky on the radio and a volume of Proust, a bath in midwinter, a runny cold. Tea is personal, not social. Tea lingers.
I call you for coffee because I want to sound nonchalant. Because we have only had sex once and I don't want to confuse chemistry and commitment. I worry that you don't want to think of yourself as a person dating a tea drinker.
Ariel Whitworth is a writer and editor in Washington, DC.
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