And all is quiet...
It's funny how the small things can make all the difference. I've missed coffee. Time was, I used to get up early, sit out on the front step with a burning cigarette and a neverending mug of black, sweet coffee. I'd sit there with the door open, letting the cold get right into the bones of the house, and watch people head out for work. I used to think about things, and that was my time each morning for telling myself that I was, essentially, okay. Goddammit, I hated that neighbourhood, but it's strange, the things you get to missing. I think I must have conquered the world a dozen times from that front step, plotting out all the things I was going to do with my life. And then when I finished my coffee, that was my signal to stop arsing around and do some work.
I quit, in the end. The coffee, not the cigarettes; I never had the willpower for that. The thing about mental illness is that it creeps into your life so gradually. It gets harder and harder to keep to a routine, to a ritual. Rituals are important; ask a pagan or something. So I stopped drinking coffee. It was making me anxious; but then, at the time, so was everything. Mostly, it still does. I stopped drinking it because I wanted to hold back that little part of myself that kept to the harmless rituals. Just one small thing.
The other day I bought a couple of little coffee glasses - the Turkish or Greek ones, depending on your perspective - I don't know what you call them. I was told it was a needless expense, and I can't argue with that. But I also can't exactly explain why it mattered.
Seven in the morning, and there's just about some twilight over the courtyard behind the apartment. So I sat down on the balcony in the cold, lit a cigarette, and poured myself a glass of coffee. It sounds ridiculous, but for a second I went back to being young enough and eager enough to see all the things I could do. I wanted to do all of them. Mostly, today, I imagined myself as an engineer. Building dams or something like that. The anxiety's still there, of course. Intrusive, irrational thoughts curling around the others like vines - ground glass in the coffee, brain aneurysms and nuclear war - but the feeling of possibility is both an old and a new one, and I was grateful for it. Then I finished my coffee and went back in to get some actual work done.
It's a ridiculous thing, a pretentious thing, a small thing. But like I said, it's funny how the small things can make all the difference.