Desire. Crave. Need. Addiction. It usually begins by feeling slightly agitated. A mild feeling of restlessness settles in. It is very subtle in the beginning. You get on with work, writing, whatever it is you are doing. But it soon reappears. Like a colourful parrot, it pinches you. You stop whatever it is you were doing and stare into the wall. You don’t want to engage with it yet. You go back to work, to your piece of writing. But the parrot becomes more persistent, more colourful. You try to ignore it again. You try to focus on work, on your writing. But you know it’s pointless. It has now spread its blue and green wings and is fluttering all around you. You take off your glasses and place them slowly at your desk. As if moving slower will make it go away. The parrot is now screaming. Your hands are shaking. Your soul is shaking. Where is it? I want to have it. I need to have it.
You start fantasising about it. The feeling of smooth textured beans in your fingers. The scent of coffee as it fills the room, when you bring your face closer. You open your mouth. Someone once told you that you can experience scents better with your mouth open. You inhale it all in. But you are still at your desk. The smell disappears. You have to wait a few more hours until you get home. You know it will do you no good if you get up and go to the kitchen now. There is no coffee there. You have to wait. Your mind now goes back to the last cup of coffee you had. It was that morning, yes. You slowly moved your sleeping body into the kitchen. Opened the bag of beans and ground some. Less fine than what you would ideally have wanted. But it didn’t matter. The kettle made its usual noise and you knew the time had come. But you had to wait a bit. Every time you enter that world there is a slight pause. Sweet suffering. You have to wait for the water to cool down a bit. You smelled the ground coffee again. And waited. You hate to be tortured like that. But by now you know the pleasure you will derive after that sweet torture is worth it. So you patiently waited. You poured the hot water into the French press. You were supposed to wait at this point too. But you couldn’t. You had to have it. You poured the hot coffee in a mug.
The smell of food from the office kitchen interrupts your fantasy. Someone is cooking curry. You find yourself feeling more and more restless. And angry. Why can’t I have my coffee now? Why do I have to wait? You are jittery. Now that the memory of the last coffee went away you are like a child who cries hysterically because it can’t have a lollipop. This is ridiculous, you tell yourself. What is it that I get from coffee anyway, you wonder. Why is it so addictive? Why does it penetrate my body and soul with such force? What is it in that cup of coffee that makes me need it? I usually don’t need anything. Do I really need coffee, or is it the addiction that I need? Does the coffee wake me up or is it the thought of it that makes me feel alive? And if it’s just the thought of it, why is fantasising about it not enough? You make yourself busy again. Addiction comes and goes. Maybe it’s our body’s way of telling us something. We just have to listen.
You step away from your desk and grab an orange juice. You feel lucky at times, you have so many beverages at your disposal. But it’s not the same and you know it. After a couple of sips you get bored of its sweet, sugary taste. Coffee is darker. It is bitter. It is more intense. Maybe it’s because you see yourself in that cup of coffee. Not the self you are. The self you would like to be. But are not. Maybe you need the coffee to access that part of your soul that you can’t alone. It is impossible, impenetrable. And this brings turmoil in your insides. You suddenly realise you are addicted to it. To the way it tastes as it first enters your mouth, hot and bitter. You always say you will wait for it to cool down a bit and then taste it. But you never do. You always taste it, piping hot, almost burning your tongue. After that first sip you can breath again. After that first sip you also doubt. Why did I crave this all day? But then comes the second sip. And the third. Like going on a roller coaster ride, the flavour of that cup of coffee changes every day. And you like that. You often have it with chocolate. With shortbread. With cognac. With milk. With sugar. Or plain black. With every sip you discover a different part of your soul. You are becoming the person you want to be.
But its taste changes as it cools down. This usually happens abruptly. You were so busy delving into it that you rarely notice the black liquid giving its place to air as you gulp it down greedily. One sip left. You pause. Like a lover’s goodbye kiss, the last sip touches your lips. It is now over. But you are alive. Alive and at peace.
What will happen when the beans end too, you wonder…You try not to think about that. But beans end eventually, you know that by now. A small part of you hopes that maybe these beans won’t end. But you know they will. You know you will not be drinking that coffee for a long time. One month tops. The artisan paper bag doesn’t have many. Then you will experience the parrot’s nails tearing your flesh. The parrot’s raw bites on your shoulders, as you will be craving something that doesn’t exist. Maybe I should stop now, you think after every cup of coffee. The feathery colourful parrot is now calm. Maybe I should stop now. But you know it’s pointless. The parrot is looking at you from his corner with a smirk on his face. It reaches out and its blue and green feathers caress your flustered pink cheek. Good girl, it says. It knows you will devour every last bean of coffee.