Two months ago the covers tugged a bit and I looked over at Kim as she sat on the edge of the bed.
“Good Morning Kimmy.”
“Morning honey,” she said and she lifted her hands above her head in a big stretch that she did every morning before standing up.
She got out of bed and turned to straighten the covers behind her like she always did.
She had no idea it would be the last time she would ever do it. Even if she knew she would never come back to that bed she still would have taken the time to straighten things up before she left.
She headed to the bathroom.
The dog flopped back down. It wasn’t time yet.
The toilet flushed. Kim wandered back into the room.
“Do you want coffee?” she asked.
“Yes please,” I answered, “I can make it.”
“That’s ok, honey,” she said.
She asked me every morning and every morning I said yes. I didn’t offer to make it every morning. She always said “no”. She made better coffee than I. I have no idea how or why.
Every once in a while I would beat her out of bed to let the dog out. Then I would tell her I’d make the coffee. If she was really tired she’d let me and lay back in bed. Otherwise she’d say, “that’s ok, honey. I’ll be down in a minute. I’ll make it.”
If we’d known two months ago today that that morning’s coffee would be our last, would we have done anything differently?
I don’t think so.
I handed her the beans and she scooped out two scoops in her blue scoop that she kept in the utensil drawer just for this purpose. She’d always used this scoop to measure out the beans for coffee. Somehow when I used the same scoop the coffee wasn’t as good as hers. I have no idea why.
She ground the beans in the grinder I’d bought after Elena died. The water in the coffee pot on the stove began to boil. She attached the top half and poured in the ground beans and set the timer to four minutes.
I went to the living room and started to check my email.
She wandered over and I told her about someone we’d heard from who wanted us to visit.
“That sounds nice,” she said, “we should go.”
And we would have.
About three and a half minutes after starting the coffee she headed to the bathroom.
I looked up a half minute later when the timer rang. I stood up and walked to the kitchen and turned off the coffee and turned off the timer. The dog was jumping against the back door. I let her in and wiped her paws.
The dog headed to the living room to sit in her chair.
Kim was still in the bathroom.
How does she always do that, I wondered. She always wanders off just as the timer is about to ring. On the other hand, it meant that really we often made the coffee together. We had our roles. I handed her the beans and put them away and she ground them. She started the pot boiling and I took it off.
The coffee sucked back from the top of the pot back down to the bottom.
Kim got back from the bathroom and looked over.
She got her container of old grounds from under the sink. It was full.
“Be right back,” she said.
She took the container outside and dumped the grounds in the garden around her flowers.
She came back in and dumped today’s grounds into the container and placed the container back under the sink.
She looked at the mugs carefully and selected two.
She poured the coffee.
“Which one is yours?” I asked.
The mugs looked identical to me but I knew better.
“That one,” she pointed.
I sipped from my cup. “It’s good,” I said.
“Thanks,” she said.
I opened the refrigerator and handed her the half and half. She thanked me, poured some in her coffee, and handed the half and half back.
I headed back to the living room. She went to the dining room and went through her mail.
We sat in silence for a bit. Then she wandered into the living room.
We discussed the day. She was going to all three hospitals then to a wake. We talked about going out for dinner as a late celebration of our anniversary.
Just the sort of conversation you have every day – even if it’s the last conversation you’re ever going to have.
She looked at my near empty cup of coffee and asked, “do you want another cup?”
“No thanks,” I said.
I finished the last cup of coffee that Kim would ever make for me.
She put her hand out for the cup and took it to the kitchen.