Coffee And A Cigarette

My mind wandered back to the memories of my father, of long before my parents got divorced. I could still see him in my mind’s eye, taking his coffee to the hallway of our project building, sitting by the window, and smoking a cigarette every morning. As a child, I used to wonder what he was doing, completely naive to the world of cigarettes and other drugs. Fast forward to adulthood, I haven’t started a morning without a coffee and a cigarette in God knows how long. It’s just a part of my day. The familiar ritual brings me comfort in the mornings as I rise from my bed, still shaking off the fog of sleep. I make my way to the kitchen, my feet treading a well-worn path on the floor. I reach for the Bustelo coffee, it’s familiar red and yellow packaging a beacon in the early morning light. The sound of the coffee maker sputtering to life fills the room as the rich, bold aroma of the coffee slowly fills the air. I stand there for a moment, allowing the warmth of the steam to envelop my face, inhaling the scent deeply. Once the coffee is ready, I pour the dark liquid into my mug, watching as the stream of hot coffee collides with the porcelain, a thin wisp of steam rising from the surface. With my steaming mug in hand, I step outside into the backstreets of my block. The air is still crisp and cool, and the city is just beginning to stir. As I walk, I pull a pack of Newports from my pocket, tapping it against the palm of my hand, the motion almost instinctive at this point. I light the cigarette and take a slow, deliberate drag, exhaling the smoke and watching it dance in the morning light. I remember how as an angry teenager, I used to get mad at my dad for smoking cigarettes. I thought it was stupid and disgusting. Another vice he couldn’t control. Yet here I am, doing the same thing every day. I was too hard on him. I didn’t understand the world he lived in, just as much as he didn’t understand mine. But with time comes clarity, and although he’s not around for me to say these things to him, I feel like he can feel my apologies from beyond the grave. We all have our thing, and unfortunately, coffee and cigarettes are one of mine. Maybe one day I’ll give it up. Maybe I’ll use my ability to overcome alcohol as fuel to overcome other obstacles. But for now, the only person it’s hurting is me, and that’s a large step up from the damage the alcohol had caused in my life, and the life of those around me. As I stand there, sipping my coffee and smoking my cigarette, I feel a connection to my dad that transcends time and space, and it’s a small comfort amidst the chaos of life.

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