Monday, March 12, 2012

Slice of Life Twelve - Cafe Kopi

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are challenging ourself to write a Slice A Day. Here we go!

Linda at TeacherDance posted about comfort yesterday. She ended with the question, “What little things make your life more livable?” I paused when I read that and then thought of one thing, actually, one place. Café Kopi.
You see I live in a tiny little town. But 25 miles away is a larger town where I went to college. I lived there for five years of my life. At some point I began frequenting this little coffee shop in the downtown area  - Kopi. It has a funky vibe; the walls have a rotating art display from local artists. The coffee and tea is amazing. The staff is super kind and knows my order when I walk up. Today when I reached the counter the waitress took one look at me and told me I was in luck, my sandwich was on special.

My friends have often asked how I can go there by myself and stay for an hour with no one to sit with. That’s the beauty. Many of the tables are people sitting by themselves. Laptops are open, papers are being written. Books are being read. There are a mix of people that eat there – college kids, locals, families. I feel extremely comfortable coming in, grabbing a table, stretching out with my book, and feeling at home.

When Linda mentioned comfort Kopi was the first place to come to mind. I still remember the summer of 2002 when Chris and I had our first son, Luke. The first few weeks we were home were rough and I was so unprepared. Chris and I married right after college but waited to have kids. When Luke arrived I was 28, Chris was 29. We were very responsible. I had read everything about parenting I could find and had no doubt we could handle this.

Luke’s arrival was somewhat difficult and we ended up with an emergency C-section. Coming home, I was in shock. Looking back I see that I absolutely had some depression going on. While I loved the baby I held, I grieved my old life. I went for a few days without really even eating, no food tasted good. (Even chocolate, that is when I knew I was in trouble!) I remember thinking that nothing would ever be the same again.

After about a week a friend came to visit. She asked how I was doing, I said fine. She asked how long Chris and I had been married, I replied six years. She paused and then said that was how long she and her husband had waited. She then said, “When we had our oldest I thought it would be wonderful. In truth, the first few weeks were horrid and I just wanted to turn back time.”

I wanted to kiss her. I knew she was an excellent mother but just to know I wasn’t the only one that felt this way, it was so liberating. I began to feel a little better. Then one day Chris asked how long had it been since I’d left the house. Other than to well baby visits, I hadn’t. He asked if I felt like I could go to the bookstore and Café Kopi, would I want to get out. It was like I had been given parole.

Thus began a weekly pilgrimage, each weekend, to Champaign. The order changes but the stops are consistent: Café Kopi, bookstore, groceries. I’m gone for about three hours and it is the three hours that recharges me for the following week. Just the sight of the front as I walk up comforts me. It is probably the best gift that Chris has ever given me and I am oh so grateful for it.