The beauty of memory is that it can take something seemingly insignificant and conjure up something or someone important to our own personal histories.
Yesterday, my coworker Jeff and I ventured out for coffee. Jeff is always in tune with what’s going on in the Philly food scene, whether it be free food promos or great food trucks. So, when he asked me to get coffee from Rival Brothers Coffee, I was expecting a great cup of joe, a trip away from my desk and not much else.
There’s a lot to like about Rival Bros. Their prices aren’t steep, the quality is great, they take credit card and they have a step to help shorter folks reach the cream and sugar.
The best part of my Rival Bros. experience was the foam. The thick cloud of beautifully aerated milk took my mind racing to memories of a dear friend who passed three years ago.
Joao was not only my manager at Starbucks, but he was a great friend. He listened to my boy troubles, teased me when I needed to laugh, sang Christmas songs loudly and off key, and knew exactly which of my buttons to push. Most importantly, he believed in me way before I believed in myself. On days when my job as an administrative assistant left me feeling under appreciated, he reminded me how intelligent, hardworking and capable I was. He pushed me to go to grad school. When I would come visit him on my days off, he’d greet me with a cup of soy foam and a smile that lit up his face. Joao made the best foam. So much so that I stopped getting lattes, skipped the espresso and just ordered foam with a spoon. Yes, it’s probably weird, but Joao never seemed to mind. I haven’t ordered it since he passed, so I’m extra thankful for my latte yesterday. A tiny caffeinated cup of foam not only provided the chance to remember Joao, but it also made me realize that I finally see things about myself that he saw years ago. I hope he’s proud :)