I can’t think of a more boring quality to attribute to myself other than “coffee-drinker” and yet that’s somehow become one of my main identifiers. I don’t even drink that much coffee. I only have about 4-7 cups a day minimum and that’s only so I can fully charge my Anxiety Meter which works a lot like the Limit Break bar in FF7 except instead of it resulting in a powerful limit break attack when the bar is full it results in a powerful anxiety attack that makes you hide in the bathroom until your hands stop shaking and you can hear out of both ears again. I can already hear you asking why I drink coffee if that’s the result and the answer is that I also get anxiety if I’m in a social situation where I don’t have something to do with my hands or something to hide my face, and coffee easily fills both of those roles. So I use it to prevent anxiety and then end up causing more anxiety. It’s a whole thing. And I know what you’re saying, “Ryan just get water” and that’s fine and everything but then I won’t have the energy to stay up until 7am watching “The War At Home- All Kenny Scenes” on repeat while soaking in the nostalgia of the gay twink version of Rami Malek. I’ll suffer through anxiety for the scene where he goes on his first gay date and screams “I DONT WANNA HAVE SEX WITH YOU! I’M BAD AT BEING GAY, OKAY?!” all day every day, thank you very much.
I’ve thought about quitting before, but the migraine is always so painful. You know that scene in X-Men when Professor X puts Cerebro on to try and find someone but then it was secretly poisoned by Mystique the whole time and so his head almost explodes? The coffee migraine is kind of like that, but worse because some of us don’t have telekinesis, Charles. And also because Professor X probably got to have coffee before he put cerebro on and almost died.
When I moved to the city I lost contact with all of my Long Island friends. And I do mean all of them. A long-lasting depressive episode held me in place, not allowing me to reach out. Telling me, whether true or not, that they hated me now. Five years after moving to the city I had to gather the strength to reach out to them. My depressive episode that drove me to isolate myself from everyone that cared about me finally wrapped up in a way like when you’ve finally recovered from crying and realize just how hungry you were the whole time. Your sadness no longer blanketing it, no longer a tourniquet for the pain.
I reached out, finally, to the person I knew I could count on first. Over coffee and food, for the first time in 4 years, I reconnected with Yeliz. It was a story I’d written in her yearbook that I thought would be fiction. The story of us 4 years in the future having had no contact but coming back together like we hadn’t spent a day apart. And that’s exactly how it went. Yeliz was also the start of me reconnecting with the rest of my friends from Long Island. Dragging myself out of the depressed pit that I’d slipped into while moving to Manhattan. My chosen family. And that’s the happy ending.
Ryan C. Robert is the writer of multiple comedy blogs, most of which are satirical and self-deprecating. He writes about his life in his personal essay series "Before Color," parodies cooking blogs in "Trish's Dishes" and posts writing prompts every single day.