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Black Coffee

Date:08 Dec, 2014

Black Coffee

by S.M. Penner

I SPREAD THE blanket out under the cedar tree and nestle the two coffees in the grass. It is one of the highlights of my week to sit with Grandma for a while. We understand each other like no one else in our family. We don’t even need words to communicate anymore, which is convenient, as Grandma doesn’t say much these days. So I just bring her coffee and sit with her.
“Hi, Grandma.”
My head is full of things I will never tell her, uncertainties, questions without answers, about boys and sex and life and death and love and happiness. If she knew about the things I’ve done—the things I do—I know she would be disappointed. That’s the only thing I really feel guilty for—disappointing Grandma. She already tortures herself with the thought that she was a bad influence. So I choose not to share. Grandma and I never did talk about carnal desires much.
“They say when you’re hollowed out, it’s the perfect time to remake yourself. So I thought it was a good time to try new things! And I really think you should try this café au lait. It’s not as sweet as those cappuccinos that you like.”
No answer. Maybe she doesn’t like it.
“I brought you black coffee too.”
The wind stirs in the trees.
I drink deep of the café au lait.
How can I tell her that I’m all hollowed out? That everything in my life is incredibly complicated, and my mind, instincts, and desires are all roiling together in my mind? I couldn’t put together words to express the heaviness in my heart even to a person with whom I could speak freely. So Grandma and I sit together in silence with our coffee.”


This is Sarah M. Penner’s first work as a published author. She has been writing ever since she could hold a pen thanks to the inspiration of L. M. Montgomery’s Emily books. However, it was her grandmother’s love and encouragement that kept her motivated and inspired. When not writing, she can be found drinking coffee, watching foreign movies, and strumming her guitar. She currently resides in an attic in Fayetteville, Arkansas with an owl-eyed, plumy-tailed cat named Burt but feels most at home when traveling in Ukraine. If you would like to read more of Sarah M. Penner’s work, her blog can be found at www.tworedtornados.wordpress.com.

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