As a kid, there was nothing more unbearable than the stretch from Christmas Eve to Christmas morning. After hours of trying to sleep and failing, a glimmer of light would appear outside my window. That was enough to justify my sudden propulsion to the end of the hallway. I wasn't allowed to enter the living room until my parents were up. They would rise from their slumber without any of the haste I so keenly felt.
To my young self, there was nothing slower than their trudge to the coffee maker. After they had made it there, I still had to wait for the water to actually drip through the beans and for them to drink it. I swore I would never give in to it. I would never rely on coffee for my energy. Never would I be a coffee drinker. I have now completely betrayed my younger self.
I suppose high school was the beginning of the end. For the ninth graders devoid of motor vehicle licenses, walking to Starbucks on Friday was the pinnacle of socializing. Here I still managed to say no to caffeine – the DARE program failed to teach us about the everyday drug. We would sip expensive frappuccinos – which weren't quite as filling as milkshakes, but practically were milkshakes – and talk, waiting for our moms to pick us up.
Then one day I was really tired, and someone offered me a taste of their white mocha. I know, peer pressure is rough. I accepted and even bought my own. It was great! I felt alive and creative. My jokes were funnier and being tired didn't hold me back at all. Still, I was mainly a social coffee drinker. The trips to Starbucks were occasional, no longer on a weekly basis, and I drank it more for the taste. White mochas, for those who don't know, are more like sugar with coffee on top.
Then this occasional coffee drinker went off to college. As one might guess, college and Starbucks prices don't really go together all too well – unless it is on the meal plan. For those lucky enough to attend Rollins College, it is. My resistance was strong. My campus sponsored Starbucks trips were few and far between. I opted for sweet tea and a cup of English breakfast whenever I really needed a kick. Toward the middle of first semester, I noticed that I needed my midday tea a little more than I should, so I cut it back. Younger me, I really did try. You love the taste of sugary drinks too, so don't say I didn't attempt to stay true to you. I did.
And so college me got a full-time summer job. One week in and I was back on sweet tea every day for lunch. One week later, I was bringing a cup with me in the morning. That same week I discovered the coffee pot upstairs. It wasn't the best coffee, but it was definitely drinkable. I made myself drink it black. I thought that way it wouldn't be addictive. I could just swallow it like energy-providing medicine and be done with it. That was all fine, until one day someone brought in some home roasted beans. I drank it black, like usual, and it was delicious. It was warm and rich; the aftertaste reminded me of fresh bread from the oven – a.k.a., everything that is whole and good in this world.
Younger self, I am a coffee drinker. I'm sorry. I know what you went through all those Christmas mornings, and I can't believe I have done this to you. Everyone always told us, "If you don't start drinking it, then you'll never end up like me." I did end up like that. It's bad. I drink it at least once on the weekends, and I can't find a support group anywhere. Apparently, no one else on campus thinks this is actually a problem. I did buy some herbal tea, but we both know self-imposed placebos are doomed to fail. I promise, little me, other parts of you are still alive in me now. I'll never know if you would have forgiven me for this, but I will fight the good fight on Christmas morning in your honor.