1: Get up in the morning. It’s definitely tricky, especially because she always used to wake you up in the morning, and now the side of the bed is cold where she used to sleep. She was always a morning person. But you’ve got to get up in the morning, nonetheless, and morning is technically before noon, so that’s a decent time frame.
2: Go to the kitchen. You’ve always hated the color of the walls—stark white, blank white, there-is-no-hope-snowstorm-white. She always used to say that the white wasn’t blank, but full of invisible possibilities, could-happens and maybes that only became clear later. These days it reminds you of hospital rooms. You remember those all too clearly these days.
3: Put the kettle on. She bought you the kettle for your birthday a couple years ago. It was painted fancifully, splattered with colors, like Pollack. Now it seems grotesque, like it’s laughing at you. Reminding you of her love of simplicity, because she claimed there is no such thing.
4: Take a mug. Avoid her favorite ones. It brings up too many memories, and you don’t want to have another breakdown.
5: The filters are not the right size. They are never the right size. You used to cut the edges off and put them in collages. She would watch in amusement. You artists, she’d say, mock judgmental, mock haughty. Always taking things apart or making them. Is it hard, being you? You’d laugh. These days you just cram the filter into the thing that holds the filter. It doesn’t fit, but close enough.
6: One has got to get the right amount of coffee. You don’t, not anymore. You just put a couple scoops in, not noticing whether there’s too much or too little. There are more important things to deal with in life.
7: The kettle starts to whistle at you. You pour the boiling water into the filter, and watch the instant turn into a murky puddle of water, grains floating around. After the water’s drained, you pour another cup full in. Sometimes it overflows. Sometimes it doesn’t. It requires timing.
Note: There is always margin for error. For example, today you accidentally pour the boiling water all over your hand. You hiss a little in recognition, but it doesn’t really hurt that much. You drop the kettle and move to the faucet, sticking your hand over cold water. She’d told you that was the best thing to do. Even when you complained that the cold water hurt more than the burning would, she’d insisted. You keep it under now, not because you want to, but because sometimes you fancy that instead of lying underneath the gravestone a block away, she’s standing over your shoulder, scolding you for whining about the cold water, and how much it stings.