A steaming black circle, encased by the cool white circle of his mug let off the comforting fragrance of freshly brewed coffee. He peered in and saw his on face, distorted by the shape liquid into a comical version of himself. His nose looked particularly huge. He chuckled to himself. She used to tease him about his nose. Lovingly, of course. She always said she liked men with strong noses, so she picked the strongest she could find.
He thought about thousands of mornings with her, over coffee. She took hers with milk and she had a favorite cup - not just any old mug would do. She used a pale green mug of fine bone china with a delicate pattern of white flowers creeping along the exterior and wrapping itself around the handle. Her hands would cradle that mug, enjoying the warmth as much as the flavor.
Their daily morning coffee ritual was simple. It had begun immediately after they were married and moved in together. The routine had served them well for thirty-six years.
This morning her mug sat empty on the table across from him. He had placed it there, knowing full well she would never join him again for coffee. He wasn’t sure if the empty mug made him miss her more than if he’d just left it in the cupboard, but then, it didn’t seem to matter. After a certain point, grief overwhelms and nothing can increase it, or take it away. It simply is.