my mother drinks black coffee every day. i’ve always thought it was strange— why not add a splash of cream to make it a bit easier on the palate? maybe a dash of sugar, too— some sweetness to ease its way down.
my mother's skin is the color of caramel, of coffee diluted with cream and sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. despite this, she gave birth to three children the color of dark chocolate, of the black coffee she so adores.
unlike black coffee, we are not bitter, though the world expects that of us. we are not ugly, either, though they likely expect that, too. we are, perhaps, unpalatable, in the same way that black coffee is unpalatable to those lacking the right palate.
i always wondered why my mother insisted on tasting the bitterness, relishing in the onyx liquid sliding down her throat. i always wondered why my skin didn’t resemble hers, smooth and unblemished and light and beautiful. i always wondered why the dark-skinned girls in the magazines always had to have tiny noses and skin as blemishless as fine china.
i wonder, now, why i am so dependent on the splash of cream and dash of cinnamon in my coffee. i wonder why i’m so wary of the bitterness, of the darkness.
i took my coffee black today. i savored it sliding down my throat, smooth as velvet and not nearly as bitter as i’d thought.