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Low Foam, Half Cap, No Whip by Anna Donnella

“What do you think of me drinking decaf coffee?” I texted my sister today. We talked about it, and then I told her how nervous I was about writing this article. We planned a phone call for her to give me wisdom, at which point she said, “I know that what you write is going to be fantastic.’ “Oh, Leah,” I said, knowing my own ability to be atrocious and her ability to be right about everything. Then she sent me three articles she wrote for this magazine so I could have inspiration. I got home, turned on the shower, and opened the email on my phone to read them. And now I’m sitting on the toilet and crying.

Now I’m not. I’ve showered, finger-combed my hair, shaved my legs and armpits for no reason other than the weekend is soon, and used a Biore face strip on my nose. I’m thinking about what to have for dinner. Leah knows all this. She just ate lentil curry with kale, tomato, onions, and mushrooms. I wish I had that, but with chicken.

My grandma died just before I started ninth grade. My mom said to me that one of the things she was most sad about was that grandma wouldn’t get to hear about me getting my braces off. “Nobody would have been as excited as grandma,” she said. “Nobody would have been as much fun to talk to about it.” And it’s true. We would have had so much fun telling her all about it, sending her pictures of my smile from every angle. With my grandma as an audience the story of a waiting room and orthodontia surgery would have become thrilling, comedic, and triumphant. It’s true.

I was delighted but not surprised last week when Leah told me our older sister, Sarah, was taking her to the mall to search for the exact shade of lavender nail polish Leah had gotten a sudden and important craving for. They live in the same city. That evening I texted Leah about a problem I was having with people at work and got a message from Sarah saying “I'm here too.” Then later, “Kill them.”

Every issue I have ever had, Sarah has had it. And worse.

I am not a coffee drinker. Leah knows this. We decided decaf coffee has less caffeine than we both thought. We decided if I got one pack of decaf and one pack of regular, I could mix them and have a nice balance. We decided I could even make iced coffee. We decided I should use a different water bottle for my coffee than for my water. I already have a water bottle picked out that I think I can use.

“Get to the point. Which point? What point? There is no point,” said someone, and it’s one of my favorite quotes of all time. I’m sorry to Leah and Sarah, who would never be so corny as to use a quote like that in something they wrote. And I’m sorry that this one of my favorite quotes, in this situation, does not apply.

About a week ago, Leah texted me, “You would be a good coffee drinker I think.” Coffee makes me shake. It makes my insides burn. It makes my heart palpitate. Sometimes I think I’m going to throw up. Leah knows. I don’t think I have ever said it out loud, but for a long time, I’ve wanted to be a coffee drinker.

I haven’t written something serious in just over one year. I have writer’s block. It’s massive. I think it’s going down a little bit. And for me, someone who wants to write just like my big sisters—well, that’s something fantastic for me.



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