I would never cheat on Boyfriend. But I have another man in my life. I see him first thing in the morning, and he knows my habits well. He takes care of me. He knows what I like. He compliments me. He encourages me to try new things. He's my Starbucks Guy, and we really have quite a nurturing relationship.

This weekend, I discovered a new drink. My old standby is a toffeenut chai. Sometimes, to mix it up, I go with a caramel chai. And last week, my SG made me an almond chai, just to give me more variety. He said if I didn't like it he'd make me something else. He makes being adventurous so safe! But this weekend, I went to a Starbucks in Cambridge. SG works in a Starbucks on my way to my office building, on the corner of Boylston and Tremont. But on the weekends, when I'm at home, I tend to stick to my neighborhood. And it was there that I first tried an iced caramel macchiato. Yum.

So that's what I chose this morning. I ordered my drink from LA (same name as me, we discovered). Yes, apparently I have a Starbucks Gal too - I have an entire Starbucks entourage. Who needs friends when you have a beverage addiction? LA doesn't monitor my drinking habits with quite the dedication that SG does, though, so the change went unnoticed by her. SG was making the drinks today. He made my macchiato and then placed it on the bar and called out the order. When I popped my head around to pick it up, he looked at me in surprise. "Is this yours?" he asked. "Yes!" I replied. "New for you!" he said. "I know! I discovered it this weekend!" I told him with pride, thinking he'd be impressed with my ability to break form. But he looked a little bit hurt, perhaps by the fact that I grew so much in the time we were apart. Or that I discovered something new while I was out from under the wing of his expert tutelage. He handed me my beverage with a reluctant smile and a "Have a good day." I smiled back, trying to let him see that we'd be okay, nothing had changed, really. "You too!" I called over my shoulder. As I headed out the door he said, "By the way, you look nice today." I turned back. "Thanks. I'm trying to dress up more lately." He nodded. "I noticed that." And I left. With my caffeine boost in hand, and my confidence boost from the compliment adding a little bounce to my step. He's like a hairdresser, but with more reliable outcomes. Guarenteed to make you feel good. Always attentive and always indulgent.

Yeah, I get that a pusher for a heroine addict probably knows his customer's perferences as well, since that is, in the end, what keeps any good supplier in business. I'm not blind to the fact that I'm buying myself a little sense of morningtime community with each order I place. But in a city, you need all the familiar faces you can get. When people recognize you, the size of Boston shrinks tenfold. It becomes home, instead of a popular tourist destination. I guess really that's what SG is for me - a character in my daily life, a piece of stability. Someone who would notice if I were to suddenly disappear. Or change my haircolor. Or order something different. Someone who sees me regularly. And really sees me. He doesn't look through me, like so many people do as you pass them on the street, or stand beside them on the train, or stand before them at the cash register. He gives you a moment. I wonder if I give other people moments? We should be more giving with our moments. It can make a big difference in someone's day. If you're not acknowledged, espcially in a city, you can start to feel like a ghost, just floating around without having any impact - untethered. So we search for and create tethers everywhere. Things that hold us in place for a while.

Come September, I promised myself I'd once again try to detox. I successfully rid myself of the $4-a-day coffee habit last spring, and it made a huge difference in my monthly disposable income. It's just so hard to give it up. I love the feeling of that green and white paper cup clasped between my cold fingers, I love the smells, the people, the routine of it all. It isn't the same to brew a cup of tea at your desk.

I don't know what I'll tell SG at the turn of the month. I'll feel like I'm walking out on him. I guess I'll just tell him we need a break. I mean, I can't call it quits completely, since I don't know if I can manage without my morning jolt - the detox might not stick. I could just test it out - see how some time apart would feel. I know he has other women in his life anyway - it's a busy store. He'll be fine. The bigger question is, will I? I'll have to walk past there everyday on my way to the office - talk about temptation. It will beckon. I might have to walk on the other side of the street.

The end of an affair is always brutal.