I raised the Styrofoam cup to my lips, and then hastily set it down- contents untasted.
“What?” asked Tom, “Is there something wrong with your coffee?”
I handed over my cup and watched intently as he sipped.
“It’s fine” he pronounced, and tried to give it back.
I wasn’t taking it.
“It doesn’t smell like fried chicken to you?”
He eyed me incredulously, and then took a big whiff – obviously just humoring me.
He handed it back to me with a wry grin.
“Actually it does, but it tastes fine”.
I take the proffered cup warily. “yeah?”
“Well it tastes like instant coffee with too much milk, but not like it smells”.
Tom loves me. He wouldn’t lie to me to trick me into drinking fried chicken tasting coffee. I tell myself this for several seconds before I lift the cup to my mouth once again, my gaze unwavering on Tom’s with love and trust in my eyes. I take a gulp, trying not to breathe through my nose as I do, as a testament to that love and trust.
It truthfully tastes a bit more oily than coffee should, and is lukewarm at best, but Tom is right. Not like it smells. I slowly release the breath I didn’t realize I was holding; My faith in Tom, and in this relationship, still intact.
I still didn’t finish the coffee.