COFFEE BREAK

by Shirley Siaton-Parabia

[my idea of heaven]

I love coffee.
          This is a simple declaration of fact. I am not saying that I love coffee as a last resort to resurrect a dying showbiz career as an endorser for this amphetamine-loaded brew. Neither am I saying this to earn the favor of all my fellow coffee-drinkers to perhaps strengthen my bid for public office in the very near future.
          Letís face it: Iíll never have a blast running around in circles with Boy Abunda, in pathetic, dramatic display of half-truths. Secondly, if I do happen to possess the credentials (whatever they may be) and machinery to run for office, I cannot afford to miss the live PBA games in lieu of all those conscience-draining campaigns, anointment-seeking selection processes, and hyped-up privilege speeches made to crush the other aspirants for the position.
          I would rather watch Marlou Aquino dunk any day.


My bookshelf at home houses a stack of chronologically-arranged comic book fanzines. An issue of HERO Magazine features an alternative comic entitled Too-Much-Coffee Man, who is embodied by a diminutive guy with a mug-shaped hat wading in a mug-shaped pool filled to the brim with (duh!) coffee.
          A picture of sheer paradise.
          I started drinking coffee when I was ten years old. It is the beverage at home that never runs out--"serbe tubig." We have the instant powder at our disposal.
          Granules do not have that much publicity to merit our attention--and subsequent preference. Imported brands and the brewed versions are out of the question; my tuition and other fees come first. All that, plus the baht pulling down the peso value.


Some people tell me that coffee stunted my growth. That if I wasnít such a frappe fan, I would have made it past five feet by now.
          I am a one-drink woman. I would cherish coffee, have a mug, and hold it close to my heart. ĎTill next cup do us part.
          Which is more than can be said for those who make vows of this sort in Church. Not with a drink, but with another person.
          Threeís a crowd. But why do some people opt for a third party? For the excitement, maybe, of doing something forbidden. Or to satisfy all sorts of needs that the initial partner could not.
          Making vows is not as uni-dimensional as making yourself a cup of coffee. If you no longer like the brew or it has gone cold, you could either add something to it or throw the liquid to the welcoming kitchen drain. Marriage is not a trial-and-error run to come up with the perfect coffee blend--it must be the perfect coffee blend.


I love coffee because it wakes me up.
          There is that slight biting sensation that warms the chest as the coffee slithers into oneís being. Then oneís eyes get just a little bit lighter. The drooping shoulders wriggle to a more upright position; the sensation that you can make it a little further hits.
          This, for me, is an enlightening experience.
          We need to drink a proverbial cup of coffee. We need a good dose of the truth floating around us, like Too-Much-Coffee Manís brew. Let us take the mug from our heads and scoop the truth out for a drink. This is the youth and education both in and out of the classroom. At this very point of our young lives, the truths are floating all around, waiting to be known and imparted to others. Education is a bottomless draught of coffee.
          Coffee, at its best when steaming hot, leaves a burning mark on the tongue. The thing with burns is that though they hurt and leave unsightly marks, they almost never fail to wake one up. The truth may never always be welcome, sometimes painful, but it must always be known. It is to the mind as coffee is to the body.
          Thus, to this writer, life is a journey chock-full of literal and proverbial coffee breaks.


This work is copyright 1999 Shirley Siaton-Parabia.
Please do not take, repost or distribute in any form without express written permission.