The Day I Ordered My Coffee Black, A Short Story


Coffee Meme.jpg

I am a part of a writer’s group that has been together for the past 15 years. Every Wednesday we are given a writing prompt to help us keep our creative inspiration flowing. Today’s prompt was one that immediately got my mind thinking…

Writer’s Prompt: The girl at Starbucks who always gets a caramel macchiato orders black coffee today.

A man of quiet strength, he had been the one who kept Jo grounded when her world seemed to be spinning out of control. Her Dad was confident in her ability as a writer. This infused her with determination to meet his expectations. Even as the rejection letters mounted, it didn’t sway his belief that her voice was something special. Yet, on this day of all days, Jo was struggling to remember the sound of his voice, and it left her fraught with anxiety. What daughter forgets her Dad’s voice after only three years? If his voice faded so fast, would she forget her voice too? What if she never knew her voice? Was it all a facade visible only by her Dad’s faith in who she could be?

Tormented that his death would cause a similar death to her future, Jo decided she needed to get outside. She was hopeful the fresh air would stimulate her thoughts.

Fall was living up to its name as crisp, colorful leaves descended in cadence to the sidewalk below. Jo gathered her jacket around her neck to ward off the chill. Instinctively, she walked to the corner for her morning pick-me-up. As she waited in line she remembered the countless times she and her Dad had met here to go over her latest plot. He would smile as she read, not so much because he loved the story, but because he loved its author. A tear started to fall, which she caught with her sleeve before it had a chance to show itself to a watching world.

She discovered why she was struggling this Father’s Day. It was the reality that no one was watching her, and no one cared for her as he had. She shifted in line reading the food offered on the rack where she stood, hoping to forget. Jo realized her anxiety had followed her, and it was impossible to run fast enough to get away.

She let out a sigh when the barista asked, “What can I get for you today? Your usual?”

She recalled the countless times her Dad had answered this question. In his gentle, reserved manner she could hear him say, “I’ll have a tall, coffee. Make it black, please.”

Her memory exploded alive along with her Dad’s voice.

“No Caramel Macchiato for me today.” Jo thought to herself.

It was Father’s Day and this one was for Dad. Along with his voice came fresh inspiration. The title of what she would write next, “The Day I Ordered My Coffee Black”.

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