A few nights ago, Adam and I enjoyed a rare chat before falling asleep. As I put a passed-out Blythe down next to us in the co-sleeper, I asked Adam how he was doing on giving up coffee. It’d been about a week since he’d stopped having his daily five-shot Americano.
“It’s going fine,” he said. “I don’t need coffee anymore.”
“You don’t need coffee anymore?” My voice broke. “But you love coffee!” I stared at him, eyes filling with tears. He looked back at me, equally alarmed and confused.
Coffee was Adam’s thing. It was pretty much his Love Language — if I ever wanted to do something nice for him I’d pick up coffee, or order him some special espresso from Peace Coffee or Intelligensia. A theatre teacher, when his students were practicing mime work they merely needed to pretend to hold a coffee mug and everyone knew they were imitating Mr. Hegg. He drank cold press by the Nalgene full, and while he wrinkled his nose at weak, church basement coffee, he drank it anyway.
Coffee was the dog we never had. It greeted us in the morning with a wagging tail and snuggled with us during cold winter days. Coffee loved to ride in the car and go on road trips, and accompanied us on all of our travels. Oh, the good times we’d had with coffee.
Adam and Beatrice horsing around with coffee, our shade-grown, fair trade Dark Roast.
My husband without coffee? “Who are you?” I thought.
“I’ll still drink it,” he said. “I just don’t need unhealthy levels of it anymore. I really didn’t think it’d be a big deal.”
I realized as I was having it that my reaction was overblown; he was right to be confused. When I shared my dog analogy, he said, “I didn’t kill a dog.”
So for now, we’ve given the dog to the neighbors. We still take him out for a walk sometimes, but we don’t see him everyday. Instead, we’ve got a cat. His name is Vitamix, and he makes amazing smoothies that cleverly disguise vegetables into tasty drinks.
I ask Adam not to tell me what he puts into the smoothies. (I love veggies, but having them raw for breakfast? Don’t ask, don’t tell, I say.) Even still, it’s hard to ignore that deep magenta color that I hope is raspberries but really know is beets.
When I told him I liked this morning’s smoothie, a uniformly green concoction, he told me it had broccoli in it. “Broccoli!” I made a face. “I told you not to tell me!”
“Was it raw?” I asked, horrified.
“I don’t know how to answer that,” he replied.
Adam celebrates his birthday this week, so this year, there will be no gift-wrapped special blends, no new espresso machinery or Caribou gift cards.
Instead, he can get some special varieties of organic beets, or a rainbow of chard.
And maybe some kale — he’s been good this year.