Every morning our staff gathers around in the break room. We start our day with tiny cups of coffee made the you-better-not-say-it’s-turkish-IT’S-ARMENIAN! way. Armenian coffee is thick and dark, and the grinds become a dark, gritty cream at the bottom of every cup. You don’t drink that creamy bit. Most people leave it, but occasionally we read the grinds. Rarely does the event take place as you might hope, with an old lady with a deep wrinkles and hair wrapped in a tattered handkerchief. But still, it is a fun game to play, to see what the grit says about your future from the bottom of your cup. To do it properly, you must first tip the cup away from you and let a few creamy drips slide onto the dish. Then lean it back towards you the same way. Finally tip it away from you again and let it fall to the dish. Wait for ten to fifteen minutes making conversation. And finally, let a friend pick up the cup and tell you when you’re going to find you spouse, have a baby, find your fortune, meet an unfortunate occurrence (always unnamed), etc.
I’ve been keeping track of my readings in my journal. A man was chased by a speedy swan. A pregnant woman stood in a cemetary on a moonlit night. A man prayed beneath a cluster of grapes. I don’t know how to read these signs, of course; I have no idea how to interpert them. But the fortune gained is in the telling, the gathering around dried coffee, peering into each others’ lives, discovering through our predictions the actual hopes and fears of the read.