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Black Coffee - a piece about trauma and acceptance

The nights begin like this.

Feather-soft fingertips clutching a face covered in tears, scrubbing at skin in the shower to try and forget, the infinite amount of universes with an infinite amount of things that could have happened, the winter outside of the glass windowpanes that you wish you could escape to, the thousands of things that you could have done playing like a broken record, nights of black coffee as bitter as the thoughts that haunt you like ghosts in an abandoned attic.

There’s a knock on the door that you ignore. Instead you collapse on white bedsheets, staring up at the wood on the ceiling, thinking of the future that could have been. There’s no kindling in the fire, but it still burns. People say to hold on to good memories like raindrops in a desert, to cherish them and hold them beneath your fingertips, pull them out when nights like this happen, but the only presence inside your mind is a shadow that reminds you minute after minute you should have done something you should have done something. You’re supposed to be studying, but your notes are covered in ink stains you’ve tried to wipe off, you need to stop procrastinating and work, you need to take the bones of your life and rearrange them to form something useful, but you can’t breathe as long as the memories swirl around you.

And for a moment, you stare into the darkness of the room around you, the weight of there’s nothing you could have done crushing you like an ignored truth, because that’s what it was. That’s what the hands of physics spun into being, that’s the events that happened and there’s nothing that could have happened otherwise. But that’s a lie, you tell yourself. I could have been better, I could have been kinder, if I had just -

Stop.

You want everything to stop, let the waves of the world crash on your limbs and pull you under, because you’re crying right now even though you should have stopped crying hours ago, you’re screaming inside the cage of your mind but everything is completely silent, the black coffee sits untouched by your desk and the ghosts whisper in your ears.

Let them whisper. They’re just whispers. There was nothing you could have done there was nothing you could have done listen to the beat of your heart there was nothing you could have done.

You breathe. You stitch your skin back together. You breathe again. It happened and you can’t change it. You stare at the black coffee and you realize you don’t have to drink it black. You realize that you could have added milk, that you could have bought it less strong.

You go to the kitchen and fill a glass of cold water. You pour it in your coffee.

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