Nick’s Coffee Pot

Sheffield paper artist Melanie Pearson "Les Fruits de Mel"

Our coffee pot has broken, and this morning’s brew flooded the wooden surface of the sideboard. Cue frantic mopping up with tea towels as that precious first rocket fuel coffee of the day pooled into drawer handles and dripped onto the floor. Holding the empty jug to the light, I could see a fine but definite crack running along its base, no longer fit for purpose.

Noooo! It’s Monday morning and I must have coffee! was my first and immediate thought. Then, I realised something else – that the coffee pot had been my brother’s. He’d had it for years – one of the few things of his that somehow escaped his wreckaging – and I’d used it a thousand times when he was alive, standing in the big kitchen at his old house in the north east and then when he came to Sheffield and I would make the coffee for us both as he couldn’t manage to do it for himself any more. So many coffees, so many mornings, so much time we’d spent together. He’d chosen and bought it in the days when he was able to live on his own and leave the house on his own and just go out to a shop. It has a history. It had poured the mugs of coffee we drank together on the day that he died. And now I have to put it out of service.

There is a strange kind of poignancy in using the last of the things that belonged to someone who is gone. I can’t really call it grief so much as a long term sense of loss; I miss Nick so often, and from a long lifetime together there are so many memories that still feel tender to the touch. Things like tunes suddenly heard on the radio or remembering a joke that no-one else would understand, or walking past his old flat and seeing someone else open the curtains. Or the pang of sadness when my phone sends me “Christmas memories”, with pictures of him on our sofa in a Santa hat and looking so happy. Saying goodbye to his coffee pot is odd – another tiny pixel added to the wide landscape of loss. But unlike a person, it will be replaced.

I remembered seeing an old cafetiere jug with a wonky plunger in the cellar– one of those things that Simon likes to keep in case it comes in useful, and I am always stealthily trying to throw away.  In this case it did come in useful, though the leaky plunger is a bit of a deal breaker and continuing to mop up every time we make a coffee will be annoying. I will just have to go out and buy a new one. At least it is January and they’ll be on sale.

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