Empty Cup of Coffee

Freddy Zalta
3 min readDec 21, 2021

There is something about a fresh cup of coffee. I can recall being in the crib, hearing my father stirring a cup with a spoon (He always stirred it to the tune of ‘Shave and a Haircut’), and then hearing the spoon falling onto the counter. I would climb out (no idea how) and surprise him in the kitchen. He would smile and make me a cup with a lot of milk and sugar. Then I would follow him to his bedroom and sit between him and my mom as we drank our morning cups.

Now I’m probably as old as he was at the time and I find myself with this empty cup in front of me.

On the cup is a picture of my son, now 23 years old, as an infant. My wife and I had gone to the Staten Island Mall and I surprised her with this mug.

My life seemed much more in control back then. I was in my second marriage, we just had my third son and there was a sense of excitement about the future. I had a steady income and was able to purchase a home.

This morning as I stirred my coffee, a little bit of milk and sugar; I once again, became nostalgic. I know my past wasn’t always so exciting and hopeful. I had two son’s from my first marriage and I could never spend enough time with them. I was unhappy in my job and I possessed the arrogance of youth in thinking I could do more, could do better.

My decisions became more complicated and I put too much trust in myself and in others. I didn’t think about the long-term ramifications — I always thought I could go back. As time passed I had two girls to add to the 3 boys and it is an amazing mix. My wife is still beside me despite my failed attempts at monetary success and my constant need for her hand.

I have fallen and I have been spared, but today I am lost. I sit here with this empty cup of coffee, yawning and feeling regretful over my past decisions. I really try to rise above regret and to live in the present — but it really isn’t as simple as it seems.

Manifestations are powerless, dreams are for the ones asleep and time is no ally.
Someone asked me the other day, “Hey are you still making jokes?”
I just smiled, then turned away.
I am not funny anymore — like a Catskills standup, standing in front of a crowd in Duluth; the jokes are just not hitting.
The hardest part is the role I play, it takes its toll — but you’ll never see me giving up or giving in.

I’ll just walk to the counter, pour myself another cup of coffee and move forward. There is this spark inside of me that still believes that I will triumph. That I will look back on this time and be grateful. Still a sense of hope that time can be my salvation.

Originally published at http://freddythedaddy.com on December 21, 2021.