COFFEE OR TEA • by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Bird chatter floated in from the open window. She sat on the wooden chair and kicked at the table leg. He stood looking at her, holding two large mugs of steaming coffee, waiting for her to finish.

“I think…” Her voice trailed off.

“Go on.”

“I think I want to try something new.”

He raised an eyebrow at her.

“Stop looking at me like that.”

He sat down at the chair across from her and set the mugs on the yellow tabletop.

“What kind of new?”

“I don’t know, I just feel stuck in a rut, like I’m stagnating somehow.”

“You can’t stagnate in a rut.”

“Stop making fun of me, John, you know what I mean.”

“Sorry.” He took a sip from his cup and looked at her. “I don’t. I don’t know what you mean. I really don’t understand what you want.”

She shrugged. “Something different.”

“Different from what?”

She stared at the table in front of her without answering.

“I don’t know, Suze.” He leaned back against the bench. “You’ve always been happy with coffee before. What about if I got some decaf?”

She looked directly at him. “Does it always have to be like this? Why do I have to stay happy with coffee because I liked it once? Why can’t I try something new? Why can’t we have tea, for God’s sake?”

He got up and turned his back to her, deeply disappointed.

“Don’t you think you are being a bit melodramatic?”

“I don’t mean to scare you.”

“We’ve had coffee every morning for the past twenty years. Now you suddenly want tea? It doesn’t make sense, Susan.”

She picked up the mug of coffee in front of her and inhaled the steam rising off of it.

“You are right. There is nothing wrong with the coffee. It’s just…” The words flew out in a rush. “I think I want a divorce.”

He remained motionless, staring out the window.

“John? Did you hear me?”

“Tea,” he said. “A cup of tea. I can do that.” He picked up his keys and walked out the door, leaving her sitting alone at the table.

Sylvia Spruck Wrigley is a German-American living in Spain who writes about things she sees in a room which isn’t there.

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