Coffee Stains in Bed

[The following was first published at the Fusion Strength Blog]

Thursday, nine am.

Each morning I set my alarm for 730 or eight. The idea is that I’ll get up and do some study. I have discovered that the only way I can study here is to sneak out of bed early, before the others wake up, tiptoe to the kitchen, and make myself a pot of black coffee. While the coffee is on the stove, I put on two slices of toast. Just before the it pops up, the coffee boils, and I take it off the element. Then, almost immediately, the toast pops. I butter it with vegemite, pour two cups of black coffee, stir sugar into one of them, balance the whole ensemble on a dinner plate, and go back to the air conditioned bedroom. Jason is still sleeping. My clatter makes him stir, however, and he opens his eyes a crack, laughs quietly in that way that he does and says “I smell coffee!” “Wake up and smell it,” I say. Thankfully, this is probably the lamest joke I’ll tell all day.

Two days ago, during this routine, I tipped over my cup of coffee on the bed. A powerful brown stain streaked across the sheet and seeped through to the mattress. I took off the sheet and put it on to soak downstairs, in a bucket next to the washing machine. Jason helped me lean the mattress outside to get some sun.

I’m onto my second piece of toast. Soon I will have to stop this and get on and study instead.

Jason has just sat up in bed. He’s looking a bit bewildered, and rubbing his face. He was working later than me, sitting up in bed on his side editing videos of small curious movements he’s shot here in Darwin. Of all of us, you could say that he’s been the most prolific during our stay. He looks at his mobile phone. Probably sending his wife a text message. But it’s hard to tell, he could be making a short movie of the opposite corner of the room.

Slowly, Jason gets up. He puts on some shorts and leaves the room. When he returns, he starts taking off his pillow case. He reaches for a sip of coffee. Today is Thursday. We get new linen today. I close my computer and strip the one remaining sheet from my bed.

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