The Last Drop

I got to work early today. Like every work day for the last 30 years. I gave a moment to the sunrise; like every day. Same sun, same sky, same time, same same. All that familiarity but with a nod to the obvious; with an infinity of variables, including me, no two sunrises are exactly the same.

I went into a coffee shop in Philadelphia not long ago; The Last Drop. Flurries were falling lightly and melting on contact; the last snow of the season. Each crystal unrepeatable and every crystal on its way to becoming an anonymous speck of water.

The barista at The Last Drop is a solid first tier hipster. Tall and at home in his geeky glasses with the dark rectangular frames, a thrift shop vest and a nerdy look we used to call mebst.

I order a cappuccino, same as every time I go in there. I love cappuccino. The flavor and textures of course but equally I love all the choreographed motions; the tamping, the jamming, the swirling, the pouring; the reassuring repetitive motion of it all.

The hipster barista steams the milk and swirls it in the little frothing pitcher before making the final pour. He does this stuttering little flourish at the end of the pour that creates a sepia image of a flowering plant embedded in the cappuccino foam; his signature.

My wife and I were at a party the other night. We’re too young to be hippies and too old to be hipsters. The party was a celebration of life, as all parties are but the more so as it came in the wake of two deaths; the husband of an elderly woman and the husband of a young woman.

Afterwards my wife and I were talking about life and death and how each one is different and utterly unique even as it shares in its description all of the same elements.

A snowflake or a fingerprint; a signature, a sunrise or the image at the top of my cappuccino; each is an individual composed of that peculiar unknowable moment that is infinitely repeatable and eternally unfamiliar.

One Response to The Last Drop

  1. Ma says:

    As always, I am infinitely moved and infinitely proud.

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