“Your eyes have been opened and now you cannot close them.” – Charles Dickens from Great Expectations
It’s Sunday. The day I miss you most. I love my new life, but it’s on this day in particular that I most acutely feel your absence. Because this was always our day in San Francisco, remember? I’d go for a walk or maybe do some yoga, the whole time thinking about you, how I’d savor you and take you slowly afterwards, on the front patio right there in front of everyone at Philz. Ambrosia. Maybe Tesora. Sometimes Turkish. We liked variety.
Like all good duos, we ebbed and flowed; some days were amazing, some days were just okay. Monday through Friday, we were just getting through, but it was still good, wasn’t it? It was for me, anyway. I looked forward to the workaday version of you at Peet’s those mornings; you made work tolerable. I couldn’t have walked through the doors without you. Then there were the weekends—oh, the weekends! Our glorious Ritual, Blue Bottle and Philz-filled weekends. Such bliss. I loved you so much, so completely.
Every single day we were together, and now, in Paris … nothing.
I’m trying very hard to respect the customs of my new country, but frankly, this lack of coffee culture, this lack of you, is something I just can’t get behind. Today, I went for a run in the Tuileries, then I went to the marché Raspail, and it was a good morning, but it would’ve been a great one had you been with me. I walked through the market hoping to see you, aching to smell your familiar, delicious scent, but you were nowhere to be found. Because that’s not how it works here. People here don’t see the value in offering you at such a venue; they don’t put out benches and chairs so that people can linger in the sun while they enjoy you with their favorite baked good and chat with friends. No, I’m sorry to say that your kind is not welcome at markets. Because you’re not special here and it breaks my heart.
I’m not proud of this, but you should know: I’ve tried to find your replacement in Paris. Please don’t be mad at me. I’ve honestly felt desperate at times without you, I just miss you so much. Today, in a moment of weakness, I went to one of the places that serves a passable version of you and it was closed. CLOSED. Because it’s Sunday. Do you see what I’m dealing with here? They don’t get it.
Everyone tells me to move on. Assimilate, they say. Find something new. Our version will grow on you. It won’t. They don’t understand, but I can’t hold it against them; they just haven’t tasted how good you can be, so they don’t know. They’re so good at most things here, but in this one crucial area—you—they just get it flat-out wrong.
So I have to figure out how to live without you for a little while. I’m not sure how long I’ll be in Paris; I’m hoping for a while. I know it’s selfish to ask, but if you can wait for me, I’d really appreciate it. If you need to find someone else to take you to Dolores Park, Ocean Beach, and Safeway on Sunday errands, I totally understand. You should live your life, coffee. But know that my heart will continue to break every day I have to live without you.
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