The Coffee Cup

by on February 18th, 2011
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She sat at the table, absently sipping coffee. Her hands shook slightly and the feeling of unease nagged other thoughts from her mind. She was old, of course, and knew that death would be coming for her but this morning was the first time she felt it close. She wasn’t ready to die.
Smiling slightly at that thought, she knew “unfinished business” wouldn’t keep her here on earth. Nothing would. She gripped her cup tightly for a moment as she thought of dying alone…here….now. Coffee sloshed over the rim of the cup as she slammed the deep blue cup on the table. No! She refused to get morose. Mopping up the coffee, she stared at the cobolt blue mug.

Running her fingers over the glossy finish, she remembered that Hank, her husband, had bought her the mug on their honeymoon. “Reminds me of your eyes, sunshine,” he told her, grinning. “Prettiest blue eyes I ever did see.”

In those first rosy days of wedded bliss, she had cherished the mug as she cherished her new husband. She had, in turn, bought him a mug of emerald green to match the sparkle in his eyes and they used the cups daily.

Yet life goes on, as it often does, and the beautiful mugs got shoved back into the dark recess of a kitchen cabinet. They were replaced by sippy cups and then plastic tumblers as their family began to grow and age. But she never could force herself to give the mugs away or toss them. When Hank has unexpectedly passed away of a heart attack at the young age of 50, she searched and dug until the blue mug once again took center stage on her kitchen table.

Holding the mug after he passed, she could hear his voice whispering how much he loved her. Touching the cool blue ceramic, she could imagine his fingers gently running down her cheek as he lightly kissed her good-bye. She had his emerald green mug buried with him. Silly, she knew, but the mugs were at their beginning and it was only right the mugs be with them at the end.

She had told her daughters that she wanted the pretty blue mug buried with her when she went. Her daughters, as all good daughters do, agreed to her wishes and then quickly changed the subject. Her girls were living their own lives now and moved out of state years ago. She loved them dearly and applauded their acheivements and successes.

Sighing again, she knew that she would be mourned. She lived a good life even after Hank had died. But things were never quite the same. He was more than her husband, he was her heart and he was her soul. After he was gone, the joy in life dimmed slightly forever. Her heart always ached, tears would come at odd moments during the day, but holding the blue mug made Hank seem a little closer.

She held the blue mug now and heard his voice calling her as if he was coming in the back door after work. “Millie girl, I’m home.”

She smiled dreamily and turned her head, “I’ve missed you, Hank.”

He nodded and held out his hand to her. “I’m here for you now, honey. Come on home with me.”

Coffee cup forgotten, Millie rose and took his hand. She allowed him to lead her away, the coffee cup forgotten in the joy of being with Hank once again.

A week later, Millie’s daughters honored her wishes and gently placed the blue mug next to their mother, lying still and beautiful in the satin lined coffin. The blue of the mug matched the blue in their mother’s eyes, the girls agreed, just like their father had always said.

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