IT'S ALL WORTH LIVING FOR

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please stay.

 

 

 

i just had the most godawful cup of coffee

 

i’ve ever had in my life.

 

you’ve got to try it.

 

 

 

i drank it at a local diner

 

charging specialty prices

 

like they didn't buy it from Costco three weeks ago

 

in bulk, "New 3 lb. Size!" Folger's tubs

 

– not cans, tubs –

 

plastic versions of the ones

 

my great-grandfather used to spit in

 

when I was a kid,

 

boasting "Mountain Grown Quality since 1850,"

 

his: half full of saliva and cancer

 

whose threats amounted to little more than

 

minced words

 

when dementia beat his gums to the punch.

 

 

 

look – eventually –

 

we're all going to have to leave.

 

but slow down, stay a while.

 

let's not force it.

 

 

 

gg used to shuffle down the hallway

 

through shag carpet that

 

covered the house with tentacles,

 

or a twelve-hundred square foot trampoline.

 

like jesus (the only name he never used in vain)

 

gliding over storms to take his friend's hand,

 

the old man would float around the corner and

 

high-five the grandkids 

 

with a thin-lipped grin like,

 

"child, you have no idea what life is."

 

 

 

i want to find out.

 

 

 

we had to jump

 

to reach his hand,

 

and the smack of our skin sounded

 

like a pop-tab cracking

 

into the morning Budweiser he'd drink

 

as religiously as you'd sip a cup of coffee

 

at 7 am. 

 

 

 

he's all beautiful and

 

weathered and leather-skinned like maybe

 

gutting so much of that dip throughout the years

 

finally began challenging just how much

 

a body can tolerate before it starts to break down.

 

 

 

i know you ask yourself the same question all of the time.

 

 

 

spit it out.

 

 

 

you're still here.

 

i'm still here.

 

and still may be as much of a miracle as

 

here ever was in the first place,

 

so let's not waste it.

 

 

 

we're still here to make a memory, today,

 

trying to cover up the taste

 

with cinnamon and mocha powder –

 

neither of which quite get the burn out –

 

but we know how that goes:

 

 

 

you've got enough experience with people

 

trying to tame solar flares with band aids to know that

 

sprinkling

 

platitudes

 

onto the scars

 

on your arms

 

will not be enough to convince someone that life is beautiful,

 

but perhaps the wonder of another human being

 

actually subjecting himself to drink this 

 

for the sake of being in your presence will.

 

 

 

anyway, i'll tell you all about him if you want,

 

but this cup of coffee:

 

god, it's horrible! – you've got to try it.

 

 

 

i want to hear about your family.

 

tell me about your great-grandfather

 

and how he got through the Great Depression

 

and tell me how you'll get through yours.

 

 

 

this moment is a part of it. 

 

 

 

breathe.

 

 

 

i want to high-five my son's son wearing whatever vintage is 65 years from now,

 

with beauty and pain and wonder and presence written into the

 

fault lines all over my face like,

 

"i have made my mistakes and

 

the.

 

earthquakes. 

 

are. 

 

real.

 

but they shape you 

 

and the ravines created 

 

are gorgeous places to

 

let the sun cast its shadows through."

 

 

 

we can hold one another's hand in the process.

 

i'll let you squeeze until mine breaks if you must, 

 

but don't let go. 

 

 

 

tell me about the love of your life 

 

and what color her eyes are, 

 

and whether the tint seems to change 

 

depending upon what she's wearing that day. 

 

 

 

my wife's fluctuate between

 

special dark

 

and

 

milk chocolate

 

and she

 

is

 

worth

 

living

 

for.

 

 

 

"please stay."

 

 

 

i know you need ears to hear that kind of thing and 

 

i know that those kinds of ears are miracles. 

 

i know it's not as simple as being committed 

 

to either life or death 

 

but i know that there is still breath 

 

in both of our lungs so while there's still time 

 

to say it:

 

 

 

"please stay."  

 

 

 

stay for the wedding. 

 

i swear the first glimpse of her 

 

rounding the corner like a dream 

 

transforms you into nothing and everything 

 

all at the same time. 

 

 

 

stay for the reception. 

 

for toasts from friends 

 

whose lives are better off with you 

 

but willing 

 

to subject themselves to the small deaths 

 

that all of us experience 

 

when we have to forego our jealousy 

 

and let the lover in. 

 

 

 

stay for the wedding night. 

 

all 

 

awkward 

 

and 

 

glorious 

 

and 

 

vulnerable 

 

and 

 

naked 

 

and 

 

unashamed 

 

and 

 

painful 

 

and 

 

empty 

 

and 

 

full 

 

and 

 

imperfect 

 

and 

 

absolutely perfect 

 

like the dichotomies you are 

 

and always have been

 

like two 

 

becoming

 

something

 

else.  

 

 

 

stay for the fights. 

 

they're devastating and necessary and 

 

if you're able to temper the moment then 

 

i will be the lightening rod you'll need to strike

 

over a cup of bad, overpriced diner coffee 

 

at 4 a.m. 

 

when the couch springs 

 

are stabbing you in the back, 

 

or simply stabbing you back. 

 

i won't say a word unless you want me to. 

 

 

 

stay for forgiveness in the morning, 

 

after the sun has gone down on your anger, 

 

or your sadness, 

 

or your wanton abandon, 

 

and mercy still finds 

 

you when he peeks his head 

 

over the mountains to the east. 

 

 

 

stay for every memory 

 

we'll embellish around the dinner table 

 

until it becomes legend – 

 

not quite the way it happened 

 

but certainly not a lie – 

 

memorialized and floral, 

 

the way that fiction gets at truths like laughter

 

when we tell the stories year after year, 

 

and they grow and we're all sure that, 

 

"yes, as a matter of fact, 

 

it did rain literal cats and dogs 

 

during our darkest nights" 

 

and we thought god was gory 

 

but they're all grace now and life is movement 

 

and we are healing and breaking 

 

and making and being made 

 

all of the time. 

 

 

 

this coffee tastes like the bad action movies 

 

that my dad used to love. 

 

i imagine him – 

 

whose absense i feel 

 

every time DC introduces another Clark Kent 

 

who will never quite be Christopher Reeves – 

 

gulping this mud down 

 

and calling it something absurd like, 

 

"delicious," 

 

had he accepted the invitation. 

 

 

 

like the way i loved to help him 

 

light the pilot 

 

beneath the hot water heater 

 

in the house we grew up in. 

 

 

 

legend. 

 

 

 

she needs you. 

 

he needs you. 

 

they need you.

 

we need you.

 

i need you.

 

 

 

please stay. 

 

find what you were made for. 

 

 

i just had the most godawful cup of coffee

 

i’ve ever had in my life, 

 

you've got to try it. 

 

 

 

it's all worth living for. 

 

 

 

it tastes like a morning liturgy,

 

and my great-grandfather's high fives.

 

don't forget that there are voices on the outside of your head, too, 

 

and they sound like 

 

futures

 

and

 

carrying the love that you told me about through the front door of your first home together

 

and

 

hopes

 

and

 

camping with your friends making you to eat the worm at the bottom of some mezcal bottle that you didn't care for

 

and  

 

dreams 

 

and 

 

hiking the Blue Trail through coastal towns in Northern Italy and stopping for bread and wine that costs less than water

 

and 

 

music

 

and 

 

tucking your daughter into bed at night the first time she moves out of your room and into her big girl bed

 

and 

 

love

 

and 

 

parking tickets

 

and 

 

love

 

and 

 

replacing light bulbs in the bathroom 

 

and 

 

love

 

and 

 

the promotion you've been working toward

 

and 

 

love

 

and 

 

being let go

 

and 

 

love

 

and

 

holding your friends close when they're breaking into pieces

 

and 

 

love

 

and 

 

friends holding you close when you're breaking into pieces

 

and 

 

love

 

and

 

atrocious cups of coffee and everything that we have to tell one another about where we came from and where we want to go

 

and 

 

love

 

and 

 

all of the help needed to get there

 

and 

 

love

 

and 

 

being loved

 

and

 

love

 

and 

 

love 

 

and 

 

love

 

and 

 

love 

 

and 

 

love. 

 

I just drank the most godawful cup of coffee I've ever had in my life... 

 

do you want to try it?