Love, just like coffee, requires a certain amount of care to ensure it is brewed to perfection. How’s that, you say? Well, love, like coffee, needs the following:
– Water, purified of all fear of ‘what if he leaves me?’ or ‘what if he’s not Mister Right?’
– A certain measure of diversity – be it in the form of coffee beans or unique personalities– combined in an airtight container that will allow pressure to build up (meaning, a man and a woman, preferably hot for each other, or with the potential of warming up to at least the prospect of friendship.)
Now, bring to a boil. In coffee brewing, this is the moment when water and ground coffee first make contact, the former extracting flavors from the latter in a manner that will drip and percolate for you an aromatic cup of espresso. In courtship terms, this is when boy-meets-girl, when the first blush of infatuation floats up to the surface. This can take anywhere from 12 seconds to 12 days,12 weeks or 12 months, depending on the temperature set on your machine. Agitate the coffee further with Saturday night movie dates, text messages embellished with smiley faces and animated teddy bears, cute phone calls at 1 AM involving favorite colors, movie-defining-moments and soul mates, and stolen first kisses. Now top it with the velvety-smooth froth of friendship, sweeten with promises kept, and you’ve got yourself the perfect latte. Right? Well, not exactly.
In my experience, I know that no matter how you faithfully follow a recipe to the letter, you don’t always get the perfect cup of joe each time. Love – that four-letter word – is much harder to concoct than coffee, when at some point, you’ll learn that no matter how hard you play by the rules, make all the right moves and try to be Ms. Perfect in Every way, you don’t always get the results you hoped for or the guy you pined for, for that matter. Because when reality rears its disappointing, pink-bubble-bursting head, you’ll realize life doesn’t always play out the way you wished it would. The dude who once adored your latte can snap out of it and proclaim you’re no longer his cup of cappuccino.
Just. Like. That.
Suddenly, you find what’s left is a mug half-filled with day-old coffee that’s cold and stale and depressing. So you cry, you curse, you deny, you blame, you rewind, you wish and pray ceaselessly that things go back to exactly the way they were. And no matter how often you kneel in prayer or how many candles you light at morning mass, your instant replay never happens.
So what do you do? You wipe away your tears, take your cup and empty it of all its contents. Rinse it under a running tap, making sure all traces of stains along the rim and down its side as well as leftover grounds at the bottom are washed away.
Then, you start over. First, scoop yourself a generous batch of mountain-grown roasts, finely ground so that every granule is bursting with the prospect of new adventures, experiences, and relationships. Then, pour water into it, purified of all your bitterness, rejection and self-pity.
Now press ‘brew.’ As you hear the machine whirl, gurgle, and sputter to life, close your eyes. Revel in the heavy aroma of fresh coffee in the throes of being born. You may not see it yet, but by just inhaling its sweetness, you hold the promise of good things to come in your heart the way you would a silent prayer. You dream of a cup so wonderful, so richly golden brown, encircled by a lush ring of cream so perfect you can already taste it.
And the moment you hear it streaming into your cup, you realize why you had to give up that last brew. Something much better was on its way to you. And you’ll be thankful you waited. Because you know in your bones, and in your heart, that this one’s going to be a keeper. And you wonder why it took so long for you to realize that.
But then again, better latte than never.