Home is where the coffee is

There are few things I like more than a good run.

But the ONE thing I like above a good, hard, long run? Coffee with a friend.

Sure, I like coffee. It’s my water.

But coffee dates with good friends? That’s the one thing that will top a run any day.

Many people think I’m just addicted to coffee (OK, I admit, there’s some of that). But really, it’s the act of stopping whatever I am doing to make coffee — or stop and sit down to drink it — that is what I really love.

I learned this little “coffee breather” from my parents.

I can still distinctly remember that time seemed to stand still in the kitchen of our colonial when coffee was being made. We would all stand there waiting for the coffee to finish brewing if we were making a new pot, which gave us time to all congregate, breathe, and chat.

Even our Golden Retriever, Suzy, would sit and wait patiently with us, fully expecting someone would use the break to give her a treat.

Someone would always be at the kitchen table, another one of us would be leaning against the kitchen cabinets in the corner, while someone else would be fishing the mugs out of the cupboard.

And when the coffee had finally dripped completely into the pot, we’d all stand or sit there quietly for that first, hot sip.

In our household, coffee was the collective way to catch our breath.

That’s why, when I am feeling tense, or tight, or wound up, or stressed, or any number of things I don’t want anyone to see or know I am feeling, I reach for the nearest mug.

Maybe it’s a vice. Maybe it’s a crutch. Maybe it’s an addiction.

Today I had coffee with a friend, and all my quirks came out: How I sit cross-legged in chairs that make me feel like I could be Edith-Anne’s body double; How I push my hair behind my ears when I’m really paying attention; how I hold the cup with both hands when I’m about to say something I’m unsure of, but am going to say anyway because I don’t have a filter.

It’s been months since I sat down and had a moment to have an honest-to-goodness coffee date with a friend, and today reminded me that I needed to catch up with a good friend as much as I needed to catch up with myself.

And today, if just for a few hours, I felt home.

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