I came to coffee late in the game but I’ve made up for lost time. I drink a robust number of cups every day. I may have a problem with consumption; this is because I tend to embrace vices wholeheartedly. Rather than criticize myself, I’m trying to take a lifetime view. When you consider the years that I didn’t drink coffee, my cup per day average is really quite low.

I resisted drinking coffee for a great many years. Part of it was definitely related to the attention refusing it got. You could always count on a long discussion. Coffee also seemed like a grownup drink and, in many ways, I resisted adulthood. I disengaged with it mentally while going through the physical motions. To drink coffee was to admit I was no longer a child.

Coffee was also a bit of a hair shirt in my relationship with my parents, which is complicated. Suffice to say, one of the problems I’ve struggled to deal with has been my invisibility. I never felt seen.

After I moved out, whenever I’d come to visit, my father would offer me coffee. And ever time, I’d remind him that I didn’t partake. The repetitive conversation reinforced my sense of unimportance. I interpreted the repeated query as a personal slight: if I was important, you’d remember. I did address the lapse, time and again, but I never actually came right out and said it bothered me and made me a little angry. Maintaining the status quo let me hope for something different while avoiding the responsibility to make it that way.

That’s a lot of emotional and psychological angst to attach to a hot drink.

I take my coffee black. Which is kind of a no-brainer, considering my eating disorder history. Can’t be adding calories to food, you know. I’ve come a long way – I take butter on my baked potatoes and whip cream on pie – but I still struggle with caloric liquids. The thing is, caloric considerations aside, I actually like coffee that way.

I can’t remember why I took that first sip. Why I decided to at last give coffee a go. I’m pretty sure it was in a restaurant after a meal. I have no idea why I decided to forgo my usual diet cola – perhaps it was a moment of rebellion, an attempt to embrace being a grown up. I had those often though I always retreated.

I loved it from the first sip. I guess I was lucky in my choice of restaurant. I wonder if they felt the weight as they poured my cup? Little did they know their coffee would decide my opinion and impact future beverage choices for the rest of my life. Luckily, they picked a good grind. I have no idea what coffee they served; based on my preferences, I’m going to guess it was a nice and benign medium roast.

I don’t like most coffee chain coffees. I find them bitter; I don’t like a dark roast. I find I have that in common with others who take it black; the bitter of Starbucks et al isn’t mitigated for us by sugar and cream and flavour shots. I’m a fan of McDonald’s coffee, however, preferring it over the ubiquitous Tim Horton’s. This makes me a suspect Canadian, I suppose. It’s as bad as not liking beer.

I don’t drink coffee all day, but the number of mugs I quaff before cutting myself off mid-afternoon is impressive. Six is probably over the top. It’s all part of this devolution of self-care that I’m engaged in at the moment. I’m planning to cut back – I’m endeavouring to do a better job of selfcare than I have over the past month. I only had three cups this morning. My protestations that caffeine doesn’t really affect me are belied by the low-grade headache I possess.

But I’ll miss the absent cups. It’s why I’m vaguely sorry I was late to the coffee game. I don’t just tolerate coffee, don’t just drink if for the morning jolt. I love everything about it. The warmth of the mug in my hands – I’m a “wrap both hands around the mug” kind of girl when I drink. The kiss of the steam on my face when I take that first, too hot sip, impatient for the flavour. The warmth of the coffee in my mouth and on my tongue. The sharply mellow flavour that settles into my stomach and warms me from within.

I’m missing it right now.

2 thoughts on “Coffee

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