“I knew this would happen someday,” I said quietly.
The break room was completely silent, nobody in there but me.
I looked down at the floor; at the spilled drips of chocolate oat milk, the tiny white pieces of glass, and my dear friend, Pumpkin Spice Mug. I was too sad to cry. I just stared at it.
In a meeting that took place about an hour later, I told a coworker (a good friend) about the incident. “I’m spiraling downward now,” I admitted to her. “That mug was a real friend of mine.”
Braziel let us out of class early the other night, right after he’d finished going over the syllabus and secured five volunteers (myself included) to share character sketches the following week. I’ve taken four of his classes now, and he’s never done that before — let us out even a minute before class was scheduled to end.
Happily, I took the stairs down to the first floor and texted my friend Rodger: “We can get Indian in 15 mins instead of @ 8, if you want?” He said yeah. I turned left onto the sidewalk then and kept walking, straight… my car was about three blocks away.
Just ahead of me, I suddenly noticed this guy on the ground — one of his legs kicking and jerking and shaking. My stomach dropped a whole flight of stairs.
I took off running, throwing my book bag onto the ground and dropping down beside the man. Three girls were kneeling around him already and one of them looked up at me.
“I think he had a seizure,” she said, hair pulled back in a ponytail.
I nodded. I’d already known what it was.
Because when I saw his leg jerking around like that, I remembered waking up in my old bedroom once, about a decade ago… a different room than the one I’m in now, but it was blue like this one is.
I sat up in bed quickly then, feeling something was off, and intuitively looked towards the door; in my doorway, Bobby. His eyes were rolling back and his throat was making this terrible droning sound, and I watched as he fell straight backwards, right into the arms of my mother. It was horrible, and I was always furious that it had to be like this for him… he’d already spent years battling and beating the cancer, so why the FUCK did he have to deal with these goddamn seizures too? Hadn’t he racked up enough suffering points to just skate by for a while?
Back on the sidewalk, this one girl kept asking the guy questions: who he was, where he worked, whether or not he was a student here. I wanted to tell her “don’t bother — it can take five, ten, thirty minutes for them to come back.” But I kept quiet.
We rolled the man onto his left side, as a paramedic had instructed the third girl to do through the phone. Blood had been pooling beside his mouth, where he was first lying on the sidewalk, and we didn’t want him to choke on anything. The man was overweight, and it took four of us to turn him.
Once we’d re-positioned him, the girl kept asking questions while the man moaned. I rested my hand on his back, applying a gentle pressure. “You’re okay. It’s alright,” I whispered. Soon, we could hear the sirens. “Just another minute now.”
I asked the paramedic to tell the guy (once he’d fully come to) to start wearing a helmet. With grand mal seizures like those, you just can’t predict when you’re going to fall or how. My brother wore a helmet during his last couple of years. I remember it being yellow. After playing video games in his big, comfy chair one afternoon and eating mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese, he ended up choking on his own vomit. What a way to go. What a fucking way to go. And a guy I dated back in February laughed at me saying I always eat with a small cup of “choke water” nearby.
We say he didn’t know what was happening to him, and that this is good, and we believe that.
I’ll never forget it because I’ve already lost so much that mattered more, but losing my beloved mug today reminded me: Be kind. Be here. Appreciate everything for every single second, because you’ve no idea how soon it’ll all be gone.
That mug was my friend, you guys. One of my BEST friends. I’m not kidding! We went EVERYWHERE together: on lunch breaks, first dates; weekend outings, adventures outside the state… I drank fun coffee (and other beverages) with that mug on some of the best and worst days of my life.
Charlie took my dear mug to this one cafe recently and started ordering a latte for me, this certain flavor he remembered me liking. He told me later that the barista had looked down at the mug and then, recognizing it, said: “No — she’s actually been getting white chocolate raspberry lattes recently.” Another barista at a different cafe told me that she’d found me on IG via a dozen tagged photos of the mug. People loved seeing it — and I loved it.
That mug and I were like avatar. It was my first extremely very special mug; I’ll always love and miss it.
And after it shattered today and I stared after it and then I gently cleaned it up, I sat down at my desk and imagined looking for a mug that’s somehow indestructible… but I realized then that, even if it couldn’t break, I could still lose it. My boyfriend said he was sorry I was sad and told me we’d find one together this weekend, that he’d happily buy it for me… but it’s so very hard to replace what you used to love so much.
So take care of people, and take care of yourself. Be very gentle (with yourself and others) and enjoy every sip, every adventure, every moment. We’re all so fragile, and we definitely won’t last forever.