watching as you empty a packet of raw sugar
into your black coffee.
Our silence is broken
as your spoon slowly twirls against the glass.
The sugar disintegrates.
You briefly flash me a smile as you grab another packet.
You think I’m judging you.
But all I’m thinking about is asking you
this one question.
hovering like poison I want to heave out of me.
It’s the same question
I assume everyone wants to ask
but are too afraid of the answer.
Because we are like the sugar in your coffee,
your answer could disintegrate us.
We are strong.
We are fragile.
And then I stop.
I take another sip of my coffee
I ask about your friend.
Because I recognize the faint whisper
throughout my life.
It answers, “It doesn’t matter.”
But I want to ask,
“Am I good enough?”
I think it could ease the panic within,
the constant drumming
of this scared and broken part of me
trying desperately to avoid
the heartbreak of failure.
You could respond,
I’ve implored the universe and it has answered
with one sweeping,
You are not good enough.”
And then what would I do?
I smile as I write this, a rush of comfort
swelling from within.
I’d try harder.
I’d get up earlier.
I’d read more, I’d write more, I’d take more classes.
I’d have no choice.
I AM a writer.
I always have been.
My life wouldn’t be “my life” without it.
I could stop now
and save myself from the possible heart-wrenching grief
that comes with failure,
but I’d be passing my days,
safe, quiet and secure...
living someone else’s life.
I wouldn’t feel so vulnerable all the time
and I wouldn’t work myself into a maddening frenzy.
But I also wouldn’t feel alive.
So I don’t ask.
I sip my coffee
and to ease your insecurity,
I grab another packet of sugar.
It tastes sweeter now.
I like it.
I watch as the cubes of sugar slowly soften in,
transforming something bitter
into something surprisingly beautiful.