In May, I had ideas for two short stores: Why She Smokes Cigarettes and The Girl in the Purple Boots. As with most things, these stories began as internal emotions that poked and prodded at me until I finally put them into words in a story. I spilled a few gallons of red ink into multiple drafts. When I finished, and the stories reached their current form, I realized two things. First, in different ways, each is a love story. And second, coffee unites the characters and their circumstances. Hence the title of the series – What I Talk About When I Talk About Love….And Coffee.
I wrote the third story, A Cup for Tomorrow, several years ago as an experiment. It is bleak, sparse, drunk, and written in the second person. But, similar to the other two, it’s ultimately about hope for a man haunted by demons of vanished love. And coffee, of course, makes its appearance.
Three stories, of love and loss and served with a cup of coffee. What I Talk About When I Talk About Love…And Coffee mixes love with loss and hopefulness with desperation. Truths from my life and others weave through these stories, blurring the line between real life and fiction. Although each is ultimately a work of fiction, the emotions experienced are all real.
Today, I will share the first of these three stories. Why She Smokes Cigarettes tells of a young man confused by the feelings in his heart. He wants answers to the secrets his girlfriend keeps from him, but he knows asking for them risks their relationship. Hope for love is fragile, and its glimmer only flicks for so long. When he learns the dark story of why she smokes cigarettes, it changes him forever. He loves her, but will she love him?