The place where I buy my coffee is closing. It happens. The online lure claims another victim. Why keep a storefront open when you can sell everything from a tall, metal shelf?
Maybe because I went to that store with my Mom. We pulled up out front, our tires crunching in the gravel, and walked through that glass door. My mom pushing the door every time–even though a big sign said pull. I would laugh and then help her while she carried on about how she would have gotten it if I had just waited.
Then, we would go through the store with her having to touch every box and smell every coffee pod. Picking coffee was serious work.
When we were finally done, and had the perfect coffees in our little red basket, she would always have to make herself a complimentary cup of coffee. This took even more time, because my Mom was mechanically challenged. I’m not sure that’s really a thing, but if it is, I have it too. We can’t work things. Especially mechanical things. Things that have buttons and levers and other buttons you’re absolutely not supposed to push.
We pushed them every single time.
It was always an accident and there was always hot water going somewhere it wasn’t supposed to. Then, there was a wad of paper towels and both of us laughing. It was a struggle and every time when we got back in my car she spilled the cup of cream colored liquid everywhere. But, it was all worth it.
It was worth it because it made her happy. Made her smile. Made me smile.
Now that she’s gone, every time I walk through the door of that coffee place I am somewhere that she used to be. Those walls used to hold her sass, her humor and her soft hands that I loved. Sometimes, I let myself pretend I will find her in the next aisle over trying to decide between hazelnut and Irish cream coffee. I know it’s not true, but it’s joyful for the moment that I let myself believe it.
It’s a little bridge back to when we lived on the same planet.
I love those bridges. I guard them jealously.
It’s why I still have a certain ugly plaid chair that might stay with me forever. It’s why, when my husband mentions selling our house, I balk. If I sell this house, I will never live in a house, again, that my parents have visited. I like houses that my parents have gathered round the table in. Or made Thanksgiving dinner. Or looked at a craft magazine. I’m not ready to lay tinder at the foot of those bridges and burn them myself.
In fact, if I could, I would buy the coffee place and keep it open for other mother and daughter duos. I would stand behind the shiny counter and watch them push on the pull door. I would watch them wander through the aisles picking out new coffee flavors and, as they were leaving, I would advise them to keep every ugly old plaid chair and to guard their bridges carefully. I’m sure they would look at me slightly askance and have no idea what I was talking about and probably talk about me back in their car. I would just smile and wave knowing I had just provided something you can’t find on a tall metal shelf.