When I awake this morning, it dawns on me once again that I’m in Paris, and I’m far from everyone who has ever made me cry. No one can get to me here. This is the best use of a savings account I can think of.

I pad over to the windows and work the latch, opening the window and breathing in the crisp, cold air. I lean out and look around to see what’s going on. The sky is bright blue and I would guess it’s forty degrees Fahrenheit this morning.

Perfect weather for a nice, hot cup of coffee. I decide to teach myself how to use the French press coffeemaker. I pull the glass carafe off the shelf and take a good look at it. It’s the classic style, albeit the cheaper version: a glass cylinder with a black plastic handle, a chrome lid with a plunger apparatus. I’ve never used one of these before, but I watched a YouTube video before I came over.

I find a bag of Peruvian blend coffee in the drawer. This might be stale, but since I didn’t have the presence of mind to buy fresh coffee yesterday, this will have to do. I pour water into the British-made electric kettle. It heats quickly, and shuts off promptly, leaving me with only admiration for the British and their kettles.

I learned from YouTube that I’m supposed to swirl a small amount of hot water in the carafe to warm it up. I measure out four heaping spoonfuls of ground coffee and dump it in. This seems so wrong. Don’t I need a filter?

I pour the hot water right onto the coffee grounds. This seems so very wrong. I swirl a wooden spoon so the coffee grounds mix with the water. Then I put the lid on, push down carefully on the plunger until it reaches the bottom. The grounds are all captured there. I’m not so sure this plunger is going to hold back this wet mound of pulverized beans when I pour coffee into my white cup. I’m full of doubt this morning.

I look at the sketch of the Peruvian man on the package. He seems quite happy. I wonder what his secret is.

I find some sugar cubes in a wrinkled, worn box in the kitchen drawer. This is gross. Why am I doing this? Who knows who last put their dirty little paws in this box of sugar? Can bacteria grow on sugar cubes? I can imagine my obit: Apparently she died from ingesting an old sugar cube and moldy Peruvian coffee because she was too damn lazy to go buy her own.

I swirl the sugar, letting it dissolve into the black liquid. It smells great. Ah, it tastes great. In fact, this might be the best cup of coffee I have ever had! Who knew that the recipe for great coffee is a French press, no filter, stale coffee, and a bacteria-laced sugar cube?

I am so grateful I have this cup of coffee and the cold, fresh air. I breathe deep and fill my lungs. It makes me glad to be alive.

That’s it. Right now, in this tiny, cold Parisian apartment, all by myself, with my tasse de café cupped in my hands, I am very glad to be alive.

Perhaps this is the secret to happiness—a cup of hot coffee in your hands on a cold morning and no one bothering you. Perhaps this is what it feels like to be inside the heart of God!!

Then it hits me—is this euphoria the result of that sugar cube being laced with amphetamines?

It’s not easy being a paranoid in Paris.