By guest blogger Joan Lambert Bailey
This piece first appeared on Joan’s blog, Popcorn Homestead, and is reprinted here with permission. Written while she was participating in the 2011 Blogathon.
Today’s theme for the Blogathon (five places I like to write) is one I’m really struggling with as it touches on a rather sensitive topic for me just now. Three nearby coffee shops offer cozy tables, great pastry, and strong brew all made to foster creativity. The desk in our apartment affords a great view over the street we live on and the neighboring gardens. Our kitchen table, though, is perhaps my favorite. It is where, more often than not, the Muse and I sit down over coffee to catch up on the latest news and ideas. It is there with notebook and pen in the silence of early morning that we meet.
Well, where we used to meet, I guess. Like any long-term relationship, the Muse and I are going through one of those rough spots. I regularly visit our old hangouts, but she’s not there. The coffee tastes bland, and I tell myself as I nibble on the cinnamon and raisin bun we both love that maybe the rain is keeping her away. Or it’s the sunshine and she’s forgot we planned to meet that day. It’s hard to say. Blaming doesn’t help in the long run, but I can only make so many excuses before I need to face the fact that I’m working alone again.
We meet occasionally at the kitchen table these days, but it feels awkward. I’m there every morning, but she’s not. Or if she is, she’s distracted, and then my pen always seems to run out of ink just as the conversation gets really good. Then I’m out of coffee or one of us needs to step away to the restroom, and the thread of conversation breaks. Back at the table, we fumble for words and inevitably the Day can be heard just outside the door not so subtly rummaging through its sack of chores. The notebook closes with the pen clipped to the side. Our eyes don’t meet as we mumble about meeting again tomorrow morning.
How long can this go on? It’s hard to say. We’re in one of those spots that feel horrible, and I know she probably gets as upset as I do about it all. While I’m sure she sees others, I did think we had something special together. I look at my calendar to see how to pencil her in, but the weeks fly by without a good chat. Maybe a long weekend, just the two of us. Or just sneaking off for the day or even a morning. A sort of “date night” thing to help us get some of the magic back, to reignite that spark, to remind us of what brought us together in the first place. Meanwhile, I’ll set my alarm to meet her at the table with fresh coffee and extra pens.
Joan Lambert Bailey currently lives and writes in Tokyo where she is lucky enough to get her hands dirty at a local organic farm. You can read about her adventures learning about Japanese food from seed to harvest to table at Popcorn Homestead or join her on Twitter.