It was a dreary, rain filled morning. Dark skies in every direction as far as the eye could see. An extra cup of coffee, cream and one packet of sugar, would be necessary to get anything done. He was very fond of his morning coffee. It wasn’t simply about getting a dose of caffeine into his bloodstream.
He enjoyed the ritual of it all: getting the percolator prepared; opening the bag of coffee beans ground to fine powder, deeply inhaling the scent. He even relished the sounds that the percolator made: a rush of water followed by a bubbling sound gaining and losing intensity until a plume of steam rose from the machine, an indication that at last the morning’s coffee was ready for consumption. He pulled his favorite mug from the cabinet and poured a splash of heavy cream into it. This mug, by the way, was a lovely light green color that had the textures of brush strokes made long ago. He couldn’t help but crack a smile as he poured the steaming hot coffee atop the heavy cream. One packet of sugar later, the creation was complete. I must digress, for he surely loved his coffee back then. He may have only been 22 years old, but I believe that due to his insightfulness he was wise beyond his years.
He had planned on spending his morning reading the novel which had just arrived in the mail: Tony O’Neill’s Down and Out on Murder Mile. He had read good things about this book: that it was raw, ugly, poignant and a bit depraved. He had been so excited for the book’s arrival that he went down to the mailbox still in his pajamas. Prior to making coffee. Being that his habit of waking up and heading straight in to the kitchen was so deeply ingrained within himself, this small fact spoke volumes. He could have had access to the book about a week sooner, but the experience of reading a physical book could not be matched in his mind. The anticipation of arrival, shredding open the envelope to gain access to the newest member of his library, the texture of the cover and pages all added to the experience. An experience that he feared future generations would skip with indifference.
I think that the way he cherished experiences such as his coffee routine and reading physical books rather than electronic ones was a good indication about the journey that he was on. I’m not certain that he knew it yet, that this literal and spiritual journey would lead him down many roads over the coming years. Dark roads, adventure laden roads, unexpected roads. He was an insightful young man who was about to be blindsided by sweeping change across society.
He sat down in his lounge chair in the living room. A very puffy and comfortable reclining chair that would last throughout his bachelorhood. He placed his coffee mug on the table to the right of his beloved chair. That old table was rickety and needed the paint to be stripped off. Flakes of paint were already falling off as it was. But it didn’t matter to him, he saw the table as having character. I can say today that he was well ahead of his time in appreciating that rickety old table with its lovely grained wood underneath the awful light tan paint job. But I digress, again. He pushed the button on the right of the chair to recline, and fell back in to a very comfortable pose. After examining the front cover of Down and Out on Murder Mile, he flipped through the introductory pages and on to chapter one.
The first time I met Susan she overdosed on a combination of Valium and Ecstasy at a friend’s birthday party at a Motel 6 on Hollywood Boulevard.
He reached a zen-like relaxed state and began to read page after page. Each line sent vivid imagery racing through his mind.
I married my second wife the day the dissolution of marriage from the first disaster became final: we did it in the home of a Dominican notary public near Koreatown, having shot the last of our heroin and furiously smoked the last of the crack in the car parked outside. I was twenty-one years old.
There was no better way to spend this dreary, dark morning.
I can tell you now that he never wavered from his old soul ways. There were struggles along the way, as technologies such as smartphones and the “internet of things” began to make waves across society. He always tried to remain true to his inner self, even when it caused difficulties in his personal life. That, however, is a story for another day.