by Laura Yeager
I’ve been writing for about 40 years now.
To make my writing life easier, I have an editor, Noah, who happens to be my ex-boyfriend. You might remember that I wrote about him in a 2017 post for WOW’s Friday Speak Out. The post was called “Noah, Best Dressed Editor in Town.”
We were together in the 80s, when I was living in NYC after college. New York was too much for me to handle, and he’s the type who will never leave New York, so we split, and I moved back to Ohio and married a wonderful man who understands how hard it is to find a good editor.
But we’ve remained friends and I like to say we’re friends with benefits, a different kind of benefits; he’s my editor, and I help him out, too. Noah won’t take money for his editing services, so I send him clothes and household goods via snail mail that I can pick up out here in the Midwest burbs for much less than he would pay in NYC. There are several amazing local thrift stores, where I shop regularly for him. (My husband has gotten used to this barter system, and knows that my relationship with Noah is purely platonic at this point. He likes to make jokes about the clothes I send Noah: “Are these socks for me or Noah?” he’ll quip, holding up a package of Gold Toes.)
Since the coronavirus crisis, Noah’s been working at home. A typical New Yorker, he usually buys his coffee on the way to work from a vendor on the street. When I talk to him on the phone in the morning, I can hear him giving his order to said vendor: “I’ll have a bagel with cream cheese, and a black coffee.” But since he hasn’t been leaving the house, he’s been going without coffee. I don’t know how anyone could attempt to “go to work” without a couple cups of this life-giving liquid.
This year, Noah’s been diligently editing my work, and I haven’t gotten around to sending him anything in return. A couple days ago, I decided that the perfect thing to send my editor would be a coffee maker, coffee, filters and a little coffee scoop. I’m calling it “The Coronavirus Coffee Kit.”
The first thing I did was research on the internet to see if “coffee kits” existed. I found nothing, so I decided to make my own. I got on walmart.com and picked out a Mr. Coffee and sent it to him. Then, I went to our local super market and purchased a bag of Joe, 200 cheap filters and a plastic, red coffee scoop, all of which I mailed separately. And presto, in a week or so, he’ll have his daily coffee.
They say it’s the little things during this pandemic that allow us to survive. I’m glad I can help him get through the day a little smoother. Next, I will ship him some bagels and cream cheese via Zabar’s.
How long this pandemic is going to last no one really knows. But at least someone in Manhattan, namely Noah, will go through this crisis with coffee and a bagel as per usual.
And I’ll have a terrific editor.
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curetoday.com, a leading cancer website, and psychcentral.com, a mental health website. Laura teaches writing at Gotham Writers’ Workshop and at Kent State University. She is looking for an agent for her book The Prodigal Daughter, a collection of short fiction and nonfiction about bipolar illness.
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