I’m really stressed out about breaking up with my iced coffee now that our summer together has come to an end.
It’s not that we’re entirely wrong for each other. He’s just so blasé, which makes establishing a connection to last for all seasons impossible. His open availability seems like a red flag, too. Whether you want him at eight in the morning or some time around four-ish in the afternoon, he’s always “just chilling” with zero ambition to be elsewhere.
I tried composing a break-up text, but then I remembered that my cold brew is an inanimate object whose straw can’t type on a touch screen, even if he had a phone. A Dear John letter addressed to “Joe” seems just as impractical considering that my fingerless love cannot open a mailbox.
The ideal scenario would require standing face-to-face with my iced coffee next to a puddle on Fifth Avenue under the bloated pink dusk of Indian summer, like Sandy and Danny in the opening scene of Grease. Beads of sweat would trickle down his body, sparkling from the light reflected off an adjacent street meat cart, and I’d wipe them away tenderly, just as I did in the heat of July.
“So, I’ve been thinking a lot about us,” I’d begin.
More condensation. I’d try to ease his nerves with a touch of verbal Splenda.
“You know, we’d never have to worry about dissolving our relationship with the changing of seasons if we just brought a patent for biodegradable iced coffee sleeves to Shark Tank, pooled our earnings, and put down payments on several islands.”
Of course; he never watched Shark Tank. How we ever made it this far is a mystery.
“You were good to me, Joe Cool,” I’d continue, “but you and I both know that I deserve better than ‘good.’ I crave a boiling hit of intoxication, a signal of urgency, like a puff of steam, that sternly whispers, ‘You need me, and you need me now,’ rather than your cool stream of ‘meh.’
“There are other fish in the sea — pumpkin, peppermint — that call to be tasted, but I’ll always carry fractions of you in the crumpled straw wrapper tips that I’m sure to find in my bag for months to come. When I glimpse at the water ring that you left on my desk, I’ll sigh, remembering our first stroll through the park where we watched a dog pee on another smaller dog beneath the National Debt Clock as it collected digits and commas.
“Don’t be a stranger, though. Perhaps our passion can begin anew when we are older in the spring. They say that some like it hot, but I question whether youth should be wasted on commitment to espresso drinks whose names are speckled with too many vowels.”
The sun would set on our hasty goodbye with a final sip and a toss in the trash, though I sense that fate will find us together sometime soon. Iced coffee is predictable, but then again, I am too.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; bracelets by Roxanne Assoulin.