From Buttbeans to Snowflakes


It was a year ago today that I celebrated my wedding anniversary  on a Friday that was anything but good.

I didn’t spend the day with my husband, but a good fiend.

And not at the Cheesecake Factory abut in the middle of nowhere China.

We went to a  coffee shop that boasted of an Asian brew known as Copi Luwak.  You might know it as butt bean coffee since it’s made from berries secreted from an Asian civet. Whatever you call it, Copi Luwak seemed like the perfect way to drown my sorrows.          

That is, until Iwe found out the price.

 “Forty dollars a cup?”

 As I wiped away my tears, we talked about the irony of my anniversary falling on Good Friday. Maybe, just like Jesus, my marriage would miraculously come back to life after being dead for a bit. But then, we recalled the other not-so-popular Easter story of Judas and forgiveness. Maybe I was being betrayed by a friend and would have to forgive him.  Either way, God wasn’t going to take the cup away from me.

While  I didn’t get the Copi Luwak , my friend who is fluent in Mandarin, did talk the barista out of a butt bean.

She put it in my hand.

“Your anniversary is no different than this. A hard experience can be worth nothing, or, be turned into something of value, something that will propel you to change.It’s up to you to decide what you want to do with it.”

That’s when I realized when life gives you butt beans, you can do nothing or make coffee and sell it for forty bucks a cup.

My girlfriend’s words of wisdom still brew in my mind.

And that butt bean is still in my ring box.


But this year, I got something different to mark my beanniversary,

A tattoo.

(If my friend Bette can get her first one at 72, I can get mine at 53).

The tattoo is of  a snowflake.

I like to believe each snowflake is a recycled tear, each formed by its own gut wrenching story that nothing else can replicate.

The snowflake is for all the tears I cried this past year.

For Forrest, Carolena, Charles. Lucien.

My mom. My marriage.



Rejection letters.

Rejection period.

I cried so many tears this past year that I have none left, which is why I can chop forty pounds of onions a day without wiping my eyes.


The tattoo will also be a reminder of my time as an honorary Hippie at JPUSA.

The guys at Deluxe Tattoo on Irving Park did it. They are responsible for a lot of the ink at the Chelsea Hotel

And it didn’t hurt.


But the tears the snowflake represents still do.




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