Coffee is my first, and forever true, love. She’s always there when the physical symptoms of depression hit me hard. She’s there when celebrating the good times. She never betrays me, and I enjoy her too much, oh boy does she let me know.

I love freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee.

My love of coffee first started on a summer vacation in South Portland, Maine. We were having breakfast at the place we were staying at, and trying to fit in with my dad and his friends, I tried the coffee. It was hot—but after a few minutes, I was able to enjoy it. It was fresh; it was lively. It wasn’t the burnt shit I thought other people often described coffee.

About two years later, I was vacationing in Hawai’i. We were staying in their coffee region, Kona. There was a local roaster, and spent some allowance money at the local roaster. It was sweet: there were notes and aftertastes I never noticed before.

During my senior high school / college freshman hybrid year, she was always beside me: staying up till the early morning learning how to code. Helping me wake up after 2-3 hours to get ready for a 10 hour school day. There in the “Mac lab” helping me learn graphic design and web development skills.

She was there at the McDonald’s, at the churches where people forced me to undergo a double dose of conversion therapy, when they tried to simultaneously make me “straight” and live like a woman. The “excuse me, just getting another cup” gave me a few minutes to escape that hell and quiet my mind and shut down the reality around me. It would be the sole source of fuel for my body before suffering another 3-hour blackout.

Next to my black cat, she was the first one not to give a shit about my transition. During those same years, as a barista I learn how to better handle her, better understand her character, better take care of her. She knew those large cups of steamed milk I jolted out were not her, and when a panic attack from the pressure would hit, her perfume would calm down and bring me back into focus.

After leaving Starbucks and throwing out all my memorabilia, it took me the better part of a year to find a cup whose vibrations resonated with me. The joyful and peaceful expressions of this ceramic mug help calm me down and reduce my anxiety.

Through the highs and lows of my life, a cup of fresh coffee was never far from me. This shutdown, along with my reluctance to purchase things through the Internet, has prevented me from supporting my local roaster. The coffee sitting next to me may be stale, but she comforts me. Maybe in the supernatural realms the angels help keep me going, but in this realm, coffee is the one thing has kept me alive through the highs and lows of life. And through her, she allows me to finally connect with other people.

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