coffee break

In the middle of all the discussions, finding other options, arguments and finally coming to a dead lock, somebody finally says, "I need coffee."

I am not a regular coffee drinker. In fact, I personally prefer milk and tea. But working with people who are coffee lovers who can't continue work without it somehow has made me change my opinion about coffee.

I can't exactly remember when I first tasted coffee. Who can anyway? But I remember drinking coffee for breakfast when I was in second grade. I was about 7 years old. It was an enticing aroma served together with the fried eggs, fried dried fish and the never missing rice on the breakfast table. I had a teacher who would sometimes ask us about what we had for breakfast. All my other classmates would say milk, rice, eggs, hotdog, luncheon meat.... etc. but never coffee. I remember feeling nervous when it was almost my turn to speak. I started to sweat at that time, thinking that I might give a wrong answer because noone had mentioned coffee yet. Then one classmate, I forgot who it was, mentioned that he had coffee for breakfast. My teacher was shocked. I remember her opening her mouth, and closing it again without saying anything. Then after some minutes of ackward silence, she told the class that it is not good for us to drink coffee at our age. That really made me feel like going under my desk. I felt like omitting coffee in my answer. In my mind, I started to practice what I'd say. Then I heard my classmate who was sitting in front of me starting to recite his answers. I started having strange sensations in my stomach. Yes, I can still vividly remember that morning session with my teacher for it left a strong impression on me. Finally, it was my turn. With cold, sweating hands, I blurted out my answer and said, "I had fried egg, fish, rice and..." I remember she patiently waited for the next word as she looked at me intently. Just then, my other classmates started to show their restlessness as a group started talking in hushed tones which sounded like buzzing bees to me. In what seemed like a split of a second, my teacher looked at the "buzzing bees" and without hesitation this time, I said very softly and very fast, "coffee." Phew! I believed she missed the last word for she finally acknowledged all of us for our answers. It was a relief for me and I kept my little secret until just a few years ago when my brothers, sisters and I related our elementary years to our young nephews and nieces who are not encouraged to drink coffee at their young age.
Of course they clammored that it's unfair. After some cajoling and clear-cut answers coming from my sisters in the medical field, they finally agreed not to touch coffee for now. Then somebody said, "Can I drink coffee when I'm 16?" It was our 5 year old tyke.
Now she has something to look forward to.


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