The first note starts immediately at 0:00. It slithers into your ear without any warning, smooths over every groove of your brain and trickles down your spine. The second note follows and echoes through every hollow of your body. You can count all your bones. It hasn't even been five seconds and there are goosebumps covering your arms and the back of your neck.
You begin to close your eyes, but immediately you feel silly. For only a second, you remember that it's 10 in the morning, that you're just in your kitchen drinking hot coffee, that you have a list of errands to run pretty soon and you haven't even changed out of your sleep shirt. But a ripple of notes brings you back.
As the song plays on, you are hypnotized, focusing only on your cup of hot coffee, on the hot coffee steam you breathe in and out, in and out, on the two swirling bubbles floating around and around. It almost looks as though they're dancing along. You can see yourself in the bubbles.
You're a child, hobbling about with your chubby hands and your chubby legs. You're touching everything, feeling this new world, taking it all in. The slow and steady intro has come to an end and the song has begun to pick up. You can see yourself in the bubbles. You're in the house of your grandparents. Everyone is sitting on couches, their large hands extended out toward you. This is what you tell yourself is your first memory, floating in your cup of coffee.
You're a little bit older now, dressed in overalls, standing in front of a colorful building. You're at your first daycare, because Mommy has to go to work and babies can't go to work. You can't color inside the lines because you can't see clearly past the tears. The sun shines through the papier-mâché tree, creating a green tint on the cat you're trying to color. The same green tint follows you to your First Holy Communion by means of tall, stained-glass windows.
The boy to your right is the boy you said you'd marry someday. His face changes into another boy, into another boy, into another boy, all boys you said you'd marry someday. Your hands in his, you wonder if they've always looked like this? These are the same hands you remember coloring a picture of a cat at daycare, now typing strings of words, now gliding across sandy beaches, across blue, blue waters. Across the cheeks of friends, of boys you said you'd marry, touching windows of airplanes, of cars, of houses, shelves of books, of records, touching, touching everything, feeling this new world, taking it all in. These are your memories, floating in your cup of coffee.
The song is still playing and there is still so much left to see. Raindrops dripping off dark green leaves, white waves crashing along the shore, laundry blowing in the wind, pink clouds reflected on still lakes, fire flickering against the darkness, bread rising in ovens, a couple laughing on the subway, a father buying his children ice cream, a woman tending her garden, knives slicing through fruit, water filling a bath, honey dripping off of spoons, cars pulling into driveways, streets seen from the top of roofs, busy cities at night, breaking news, lights dimming at the cinema and guitar strings vibrating. These visuals echo through you.
Your hair is long now, you mostly keep it up because you've always liked the sensation of the warm sun on your neck. You are drowning in white cotton sheets, in white paper sheets, falling in spirals of words, falling in fields of tall grass, falling in love. Your children smile at you, food smeared on their cheeks. The same smiles follow them into adulthood, but for you, it is your hands. Hands that now rub bloated bellies, pack sandwiches in brown bags, sign birthday cards, pet dogs, hold babies, hold railings, hold hands. Hands reaching out, fingers spread wide, to touch, to feel, to take.
In the final act, the yellow sun fades to orange and your hands don’t work the way they used to. The memories that used to flash quickly before your eyes gradually come to a halt until you are left with one final memory. You're not quite sure what to make of it. You're alone, your hands shaky against bright colors and then you. You can see yourself in the bubbles. The kitchen is quiet. You're warm with nostalgia for events that never happened. You're awake now and you haven't even drank your coffee. In fact, it's still hot.