I only remember my life in empty cups of coffee or tea. No matter where I am or what year it is, I always have memories that end or begin with my gaze at an empty cup. It is how I travel through time—staring at these empty cups spread over the years in my head. It is the only way I know to remember and the only way I can possibly forget. To forget something, I must visit the same places, by choice or chance. Then, I must do the same things over and over again until whatever remains stuck in the crevices of my memory. I must walk the same places until whatever I cannot forget becomes a blur and sip with familiar scenery. I must do this till I cannot remember when the cup looked that way or where I saw it to be that way. I must do it until all I remember is a cup, and all else is smudged.
It is pretty simple: you confuse yourself enough so that all good things convalesce into a bubble you think of when you think of a year or some irrelevant corner in a city you haven’t visited much. My childhood is just a cup of tea; that is how I remember it on most days. It is oddly sweet; there’s too much of everything in it; there is not much to complain about, for the tea never runs out. Each memory has a cup in the background, around the corner, or sometimes, at the centre–a constant prop. And my early youth, which some would argue is still going on? It is like the cups of coffee made by the little sachets they have in hotel rooms, which never qualify for coffee in hindsight, but you tear them open regardless, hoping for something different.
As I sit and work in a hotel room in a city I have only skimmed through every time I have visited it, I try to remember how it was the last time I saw it. All I can remember as I stare out the dirty glass window is tea, coffee, and rain. The usual suspects and companions of my life are here today as they were half a decade ago. They are all here; everything else is a matter of preference. It is how you like them that keeps changing. That is how it occurs to you that time has passed.
I don’t take milk with my coffee anymore, you think. That was not the case when I last walked here. Now that I think of it, I did not like the rain, too.