Stronger Than Coffee

image“The beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had one more for dessert.”-Johnny Cash

The scent of cheap draft hits me in the face and makes me wish your breakfast smelled more like it was poured from a pot rather than a tap. You’re telling another one of your childhood stories about far away battlefields that make me squirm and wish I was a runner. Because if I had a pair of running shoes I would be lacing them up right now. I’d run down the street that turns into a country road that eventually leads to the on ramp where I could choose from east or west. I’d head out toward the water. Straight into the salty chilly air that soothes and comforts. The sound of the sea drowns out your inebriated voice and lulls me into believing everything is going to be ok. But I’m wearing flip flops today so I tell the bartender I’ve changed my mind. Line up a beer and a shot instead.

Forget what I said before. I blush at my selfish daydream and ask you to repeat that last part again. Because I want to be here for you. I want to comfort you and listen in a way that can erase the night terrors. In a way that will take away your loneliness because I know that although our family is intact you feel lost in this world stuck in a unit of one. I overhear the bastard at the end of the bar whisper the word crazy and nod in our direction as he’s talking to his pal.

Let me tell you what’s crazy. Crazy is giving a boy who is busy learning how to be a man a rifle and teaching him how to take a life and snuff it out as effortlessly as plucking weeds from a flower bed. Crazy is expecting that man-boy to dust off his pants, wash his hands and deplane that international flight in tact and unscathed when his tour is complete. Crazy is further anticipating that he will get back into his car as he did before and return home fully capable of functioning outside of the combat zone, able to give and receive love, able to raise a family with that nightmare as a constant heavy shadow.

I finally understand now, I completely get why your breakfast is poured into a tumbler instead of a coffee mug. Coffee just isn’t strong enough.


  One thought on “Stronger Than Coffee

  1. May 8, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Powerful words, so true.


    • May 8, 2014 at 8:51 am

      Thanks John. I’ve been reluctant with the publish button on this one. Thank you for the feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

    It’s horrendous how little care they get after they return.


    • May 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

      That’s exactly why I used true crime as a tag. Thanks for your comment.


  3. May 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Very powerful and well written.


    • May 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you so much Christopher!


  4. May 8, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Wow! I love this.
    Great job
    Love the song quote. One of my favorites, but I prefer the Kris Kristofferson version. But Cash is great too.


    • May 8, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks for your comment Lance! I didn’t know that Kris Kristofferson has a version of this one. Will have to look for it.


  5. May 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

    This is wonderful. The words, the story, the moment… everything comes together so elegantly. Never be reluctant to press that publish button. So descriptive, fluid, poetic (aside it being prose).


    • May 8, 2014 at 11:28 am

      And, just posted this to the wall of my “Infinite” FB page. I could not resist.


      • May 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

        High praise. Now you made me blush.


    • May 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks so much Christopher. This was a tough one to pin up for a variety of reasons but encouragement like this from you makes me happy.


  6. May 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I feel very PTSD here today. As the lyrics continue, “Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt” send the message that this guy is a hot mess, and how could he not be? We have a vet at church in leg braces and constant pain that no amount of any substance can push away. Good job, Sandra. This is the much darker version of the ecard, “Coffee, you’re on the bench. Alcohol, suit up.”


    • May 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      My apologies Kerbey. I try to keep it light and sunny around here but sometimes the forecast calls for rain. That ecard kills me! I’m so glad you mentioned it since I hadn’t heard of it but yes, it’s appropriate. xoxo


      • May 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

        Yes, the forecast has to call for rain sometimes. An always sunny blog could lead to melanoma.


  7. May 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Sometimes the country’s forecast calls for rain and tears and bastards on the barstool lobbing ignorant word-grenades. Sandra, when you choose this direction, you are a master painter of sorrow, hurt, wrong and the need to make it right. Bravo, my friend. Be proud of this one. I am proud of you for creating it.


    • May 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Aww Mark, hearing that from u means so much. I’m glad you liked it! I really appreciate your encouragement friend! Xoxo


      • May 8, 2014 at 7:05 pm

        This one tonight was very special, Sandra. You rock.


      • May 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm

        \\m// ❤️


  8. May 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Yes, it’s sad that we keep saying that they suffer so much afterwards, but it keeps happening over and over again.


    • May 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      I completely agree Dora. How is it that certain lives are disposable? I think the lawmakers sending kids to war should ship themselves off instead.


  9. May 10, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Blogland, which is so full of posts on how to attract more clicks or recipes for gluten- dairy- sugar- fat- everything-free whatever, needs more stories like this: ones that are honest, regardless of how painful or raw.


    • May 11, 2014 at 5:03 am

      Catherine, your thoughtful comment was so touching. Thank you so much. I’m glad we’re friends. Happy Mama Bear Day to you! xoxo


  10. January 28, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    This is my new favorite….I find a new one each time I visit. It’s beautiful and so real….painful to read but beautiful. Thank you for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 1, 2015 at 2:42 am

      iGracias Estelita! It was hard to share but I’m glad I did especially when I hear encouragement from friends like you! Xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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