Something not commonly known about me, in real life or blog life, is that I love to write nonfiction essays. My writing style on the blog is very different from my writing style for my essays, so today, I decided to share with you a piece I wrote this time two years ago. I hope you enjoy!
Starbucks. One tall pumpkin spice latte with soy milk and a pump of sugar free vanilla syrup, please and thank you. My latte order may take a century to say and cost the better part of an hour’s wages, but when I set it down next to a new friend’s much simpler order, it becomes something entirely more complex. That biodegradable cardboard cup with a recycled plastic lid carries not only espresso-filled delicousness, but a much more wonderful energy source. Hope.
It’s an odd thing, hope. Even in the smallest doses it brightens the colors in which we see the world. Sitting down to coffee with someone new tints the edges of my world with a soft, warm yellow that mimics the color of the sun setting outside. I take comfort in the heat of my coffee; the pit of my stomach begins to flutter with excitement. Hope begins to take hold as my cup begins to empty. Maybe this coffee is the start of something wonderful.
The prospect of a lasting friendship fills my soul with its promise. We sip and I consider the way things have been in the past. I have had many friends over the course of my life, but for a multitude of reasons most of them have faded over time. Several of those friendships were only skin deep, and disappeared the minute a true friend was needed. This, however, feels different. We don’t discuss clothes or hair or any of the shallow topics that comprise standard small talk. Our conversation delves much deeper. I explain who I once was and who I am now becoming, and she describes God’s love, and together we pray in thanks of the life we live and the moment we are experiencing. After “Amen,” I feel alive with hope for the future. I’ve never had quite such an intimate moment with a new companion before. I have hope that there are many more of such moments to come. You can never really predict when these moments filled with possibility are going to occur. As I placed my latte order I had no idea that along with my coffee I’d be consuming such anticipation. Now, as I sip the last of the foam, I find myself full of expectation and dreams, picturing what this new friendship might one day look like.
The darkness of night catches us unaware. We’ve been talking for over an hour and our cups have been empty for a while, but we don’t notice. The cup resting on the table starts to take on a new meaning as we talk more and more. Many moments in my life feature a similar latte, but none of them stand out in my mind like this one. It’s funny that something I have woven into my life for as long as I can remember can suddenly take on much greater value. I have had thousands of cups of coffee over the years, about two a day since I was fifteen. Many of my dearest memories come with a mug in my hand. Even still, this moment is different. I discover that my favorite beverage is also a carrier for one of life’s most precious gifts. A new friendship founded on a cup of Joe. How strange.
The warmth of this latte matches the warmth of the hope I’m feeling as I throw my head back in laughter. The realization hits me that my best loved order will never taste the same again. From now on, I will discern not only nutmeg and cinnamon on top of my espresso, but also the sweetness of hope. I’m glad I chose a hot drink for this moment instead of one of those frigid blended things. It wouldn’t have quite the same effect. You can’t feel how warm hope is if you’re sipping on ice.