Mugaritz B.S.O.

Editor: Ixo (Basque/English)
Year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-935310-6-5
Pages: 110

«Inside and outside of the cup

I’ve rehearsed it at home, I’m ready. I know that I’ll order a coffee and she’ll order another
one. I know that mine will be black and hers milky and lukewarm. I’ve made a considerable
effort to discard all stale excuses, clichés, the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” and so on. I’ll
drink my coffee in one gulp and look into her eyes and tell her. She’ll accuse the blow, but
appreciate my honesty. She might feel sad and relieved at the same time; saddened by her
sadness and puzzled by her relief. She might get angry and leave, it’s possible, but she never
did like a scene. “I’ve met someone else, nothing’s happened, but I know that it might.” No, I
discarded that: “someone else” sounds bad. It’s better to say “someone special,” “a woman.”
To say “someone else” turns her into “someone” and that isn’t fair.
As I said, I’ve thought of everything.
“It’s out of my control, it’s something I can recount, but can’t counter.”
Recount and counter, two words: they both contain the exact same letters.
I’m not leaving anything to fate, I don’t think so.
But there are things that you can’t rehearse: the possibility that I might hold her hand and caress it, the possibility that I might hold her hand and not caress it,
the possibility that I might caress and not hold it, the possibility that she might
deter me with a disarming smile or some grave news, some terrible piece of
news that leaves absolutely no room for more bad news, like her father being
diagnosed with a terminal illness, for example (“he´s give got six months left”).
None of it happens. Apart from the bit about the coffees. Mine is
black and hers milky and lukewarm. I gulp mine down in one and I think I
definitely have the strength and the courage to tell her.
“So what’s that important thing you have to tell me?”
It’s the grounds. The future falls on them like a falcon. When I look at the
bottom of the cup what I see there captures my attention: it’s a very dark pupil,
blinking again and again deep down at the bottom of the cup; a falcon’s pupil
seems to be winking at me. Suddenly, the eye recedes and I see the face of an
Ethiopian man - I know immediately he is Ethiopian, don’t ask me why - who
then walks deeper into the cup and enters a coffee plantation where, in turn,
I see a group of coffee pickers singing melodious, soothing hymns that I am
incapable of understanding, I see that the coffee beans are taken to a kind of
trough where they are cleaned and filtered, I see that the coffee pickers keep
singing all along, and later on I see that the coffee beans chosen with such
delicate care are ground by a group of women; I see bulk coffee beans by the
sack, I witness a discussion about the price of the merchandise between a
white man dressed in black and a black man dressed in white, and I see sacks
that turn into small packets, packets that fly in small planes with very noisy
propellers that whir and purr, small stainless steel propellers that grind coffee
and a waitress with a grant awarded by an American university that feeds it
into the coffee machine - clack-clack - The coffee machine is merely an electric
train taking off, I see myself in it, at the bottom of the cup, I’m ordering two
coffees, “mine black” and hers “milky and lukewarm,” it’s all happening inside
the coffee cup, inside the pupil of a bird of prey, right there beyond the dark veil
of the coffee grounds; it’s unbelievable, but it’s true, I am watching it: a man
who has rehearsed it and thought it all at home, he steels himself, gets ready
to say it, has made a considerable effort to discard all stale excuses, clichés,
the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” and so on. And he’ll drink the coffee in one gulp
and look into her eyes and tell her. And she’ll accuse the blow, but appreciate
the honesty.
“So what’s that important thing you have to tell me?”
The two men, the one at the bottom of the cup and I, raise our eyes
from the grounds, the grounds of leftover love or habit, those grounds.
It isn’t clear, neither of us knows. We don’t know if we’ll be able to
articulate a word or if we’ve lost the ability to speak forever.
We’ve forgotten to take our raincoats off and our arms spread, like
falcon wings».

(Translator: Amaia Gabantxo)