This work in progress is a homage to the simple carefree times in a place now far and away.
"Yalla jeyeh... hotteh l'rakweh 'an-nar" (I'm coming. Put the coffee pot on the stove).
So much nostalgia and longing packed in these few ordinary words. Back home in Lebanon, the revered coffee break was the time to escape from the routine daily chores, critical be they... or trivial, pressing... or not at all. Everything could wait or, ok let's admit, everything had to, as the time had come to stop and smell the roses, or even better... a freshly brewed pot of coffee. It was the time to reminisce about the past, bring back old memories of long-gone days and long-gone people; the time to discuss the present, its latest news and juiciest gossip; and the time to foretell the future, its dredded surprises and welcome gifts. "Finjenik abyad (literally, your cup is white, alluding to the good fortunes to follow as the designs left by the coffee sediments were interpreted and brought to life). "You have a long road ahead of you, in two time units, could be 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, who knows... But do not fret, it will be all good." "I see letter n for najah (meaning success)." "I see a bird at the mouth of the cup. You will hear some news. It will be good news". "You have a fish. You will receive a present. It looks pretty big. It will be a worthy present. I will await my share as the bearer of the news." "Be wary of that blond snake close to your home. Do you see it? Here, step on it (as in smudge it with your finger)."
But most of all, it was the time of camaraderie and bonding. As essential as the coffee itself, was the companionship. And even now, years after I left Lebanon, I can sip and enjoy a cup of espresso, cappuccino, American coffee, or any coffee for all that matters all alone, but never a cup of Turkish coffee all alone. It just does not feel right...
A fresh pot of coffee and special companions to share it with: Can't get better than that.
"Mama, yalla jeyeh... hotteh l'rakweh 'an-nar. Can't wait to see you both habibeteh. xoxoxo"