"When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things." -- Muriel Barbery
BUT for us it is not tea, it is coffee. Before this pandemic, my wife and I did coffee breaks when there was no work. We only had one condition, being coffee drinkers, it had to be good. So we had a few favorites but the one that surprised us was this donut shop that had outstanding coffee. We would just sit. Sometimes we would talk or watch the world pass by. Sometimes our conversations were serious but most of the time they would just be banter and silly stuff. I really cannot speak for her but I have always looked forward to those moments because we get to talk and just be ourselves. All that went pffft when this pandemic happened. No more coffee, no more donuts or cake.
But as this quarantine became longer our coffee date turned into morning breakfast. To appreciate that I need to say something first. My wife sleeps early and wakes up early. Me? This pandemic did not alter my sleeping schedule. I sleep at two in the morning and still wake up at the same time. Around eight-thirty. Chona is up two hours ahead of me and she does sorts of things but she waits that we have breakfast together. No matter how busy she is, she sees to it that we have breakfast together.
We sit. Have breakfast. And talk. The first thing she always asks me is, "ano ang balita?" If there is, I share. If none, we just talk about anything. We sit and talk for about twenty minutes. We talk about news, showbiz, vaccines, the latest Kdramas, food, our children, work, finances, weather. Just about everything. Then when we are done she goes her way and I go mine( as if we were not in the same house). Sometimes she eats lunch alone, sometimes I skip lunch. When we have dinner that is where our children join us. We just sit and talk. Sometimes the conversations take long, sometimes they are short.
The heart of our family has always been the table. All our moments of celebration and challenge have always been in our table. We even have a special table for Christmas. That table is only for the Christmas dinner. Our family discussions and important occasions have always been around the table. It does not matter what the food is because that does not matter, what is important is the gathering. That is where we draw strength and sometimes courage.
When my wife and I have coffee, it is more than the coffee really. It is the reality that in spite of all the weariness and the drudgery, there is always coffee. And more so today. In spite of the madness and the fear, there is always the table during breakfast and dinner.
There is always family. Kayo, ano ang balita?