Coffee by Sara Al-Salem

Posted on April 23, 2012 by


I’m terrified of the night. I wanted some poetic way to say this, to tell you this, but it’s as simple as six words of a sentence. It’s 1:20 AM right now, and I’m sitting here on this too-old-to-be-comfortable couch, and I feel like hiding within myself, shutting my eyes tight and my ears even tighter until the sun comes to work, to bring me out of my hiding place with a soft “peek-a-boo”, and I’ll be fine again. The coffee machine would turn on, and my mom would come down and she’d take her gulp after scathing gulp, and she’d laugh at my contorted face. “It’s just coffee, Sara, you don’t have to make that face at me.” But coffee reminds me of caffeine, which reminds me of staying up, staying up as I am now on this couch. I could say I don’t know why I fear the night, but that would be a lie. During the night, everything gets quiet. The tip-tap-taping of my keyboard sounds rude in the silence, almost like you have to respect This Silence with More Silence. But my mind lashes out, rebels, and all I can hear is the sound of everything I want to do and every way I’m not doing it.


The future that used to be a faraway memory, like one of those autobiography books that’s been on my shelf for God-knows-how-long that I swear I’ll read one day, was now slamming into me, trying to become me, very nearly blinding me. In these nights when the music’s too quiet for the sound of my thoughts, the future becomes my present and I have no more excuses to pull out of my hat no matter how many times I scratch at the bottom of the black velvet, wishing to pull out a rabbit like Harry Houdini would. I am normal, and I am dull, and I am very simply me. I am the same girl on this same couch with these same thoughts, but what the same girl five years ago had that I do not anymore is the appeal of the future and what it could give me. The nights of that girl were loud, yes, and scary, yes, but they were sanguine because hey, you will write those novels and you will get that college acceptance letter and that boy will fall in love with you the way all the boys fall in love with all the girls in the books you read, and you will be content. You will be content with the person you will become.


If I were trying to be poetic, I would say start this ending with “But alas,” and I would tell you how the girl with all her dreams and all her hopes crippled into nothing by something awful like disease or death. I would tell you that the girl had no choice but to give up on her life by forces she never had the reins to.  But this girl…I never gave up on my life. Sometimes if I’m being pitiful, I’d tell you that life gave up on me, and then I would sulk in the woes and sorrows of poems and music on a mass-media social networking blog.  But the reality, a word you’ll never find in a dreamer’s vocabulary, of my life on these quiet, quiet nights is that I have never been somebody great, and I never will be. And what makes the night so terrifying to a pseudo writer like myself is that I will never be able to accept this fact. I will live my life ricocheting between the idea of impending greatness and the truth of mundane normalcy, between day and night.

Posted in: Coffee