‘Once, my husband and I were drinking coffee in a cafe…’

My husband and I were once sitting drinking coffee in a cafe.

He was young and handsome, and I loved him.

I was wearing an old coat that was ruining my life. I felt almost defective in it — I hated that coat. It wasn’t warm. It was disfiguring and it made me feel ugly.

The cafe was cheap, the coffee tasteless.

I was dreaming that one day we would be drinking good coffee in a posh restaurant, and I would look stylish and beautiful. My husband’s eyes were shining when he looked at me. He loved me, and he didn’t know what was on my mind or what I was so down about.

…He died young, and I remained. Alone.

Then, in the years that followed, I sat in hundreds of cafes throughout my life; I drank thousands of cups of good coffee and owned a number of fashionable coats.

But he wasn’t there.

I often remember that moment, and now I understand it was when I had everything — yet I didn’t even realise.

An extract from Elena Rog’s book, On fireflies and humidors

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