You drink coffee just because it looks cool? Well let me tell you my story.

I had this weird perspective of equating coffee with intelligence. I know. Its lame. And Im not sure if anyone ever agrees with me. But I find it totally amusing to see someone cradling an unassuming cup on her hand. Who sits quietly right on the small corner of the coffee shop, probably lost between pages of a book or a journal. Who doesnt mind the people nor the selfish noise of the crowd around her. Who, in most cases , has her back facing the world.

But thank you Facebook and Instagram for letting people take pictures of them with Starbucks on their hands and totally destroying my weird philosophies. Gone are the days of admiring people who actually searched for a great coffee. Who truthfully and genuinely find comfort in the aroma of a fresh brew. (This rant made me think of all those pictures of me with Starbucks in hand and brandishing it like a total idiot. I am currently contemplating to take them all down.) Yessir, Im just like everybody else. Which made it even worst. Im not cool, and my intelligence level is directly proportional to my motivation to get out of bed and take a bath in the cold morning. And I FREAKIN take pictures of me with a cup of coffee right at my face. Absolutely ridiculous. Unforgivable. I hate myself now.

But let me tell you a story. Before I became this unsentimental coffee drinker, I was the queen of my grandmother’s porch- who will give up everything to hear her stories, while clasping a hot cup of local brew which she made just for me.

I was born and raised in a small town where every house will never be complete without a cracking fire and a pot of coffee in its crown. Batangas is best known for its local brew thats a bit strong for most, but is unmatched for its aroma. I remember waking up every morning, with the smell of everything thats comforting about my childhood – burning twigs, fresh morning breeze, a hint of ripe mangoes, the scent of my pillowcase and that intoxicating smell of coffee grounds, slowly burning and  saturating at my lola’s every persistent stir.

Whenever Im tired, sick, lonely, happy, defeated – she will make me some coffee. Whenever she has stories to tell, me and my cousins will gather around the porch while she happily pour some in our cups. Whenever a tired neighbor or a lost tourist will  seek shelter from the cool shade of our mango tree, she will offer them coffee. I lost count of every celebration, every victory, every mourning, every summer vacation, every school break, every memories of us family that revolves around our infinite coffee times. As we all grew older, those events came few and far in between. There were years that I havent been able to come back home because I have countless school work to finish, or because I was busy building my dreams in this city -away from that small town, away from that porch, away from that comforting scent, away from my grandmother’s old stories.

A couple of years ago, she passed away. I screamed at the heavens for taking her away. The heavens screamed back at me.

Unconciously, I took that piece with me whenever I go. And it was just recently that I realized why Iam sentimental about it. It reminded me of the comfort I had back when the problems of the world couldnt even touch me. Back when my laughter doesnt involved laughing at other people. Back when my grandmother will ask me if Im okey while she push her own cup on the table and invites me to take a sip. Back when a clear, peaceful mind is a gift.

Whenever im sad, broken, trampled down,  doubtful, sick, cold, joyful, I will seek a hot cup of that black coffee. With every smell brings a new light on things, a new understanding. Awakening.

Its now 5AM and I am about to go home from this corporate jungle that I am in. I would love to drop by the nearest coffee shop right across our building. But Im too tired to even bother. However, I will give up everything just to hear my grandmother’s stories again. Ever smiling, right by that porch, with a hot cup of black coffee in her hand.


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Jona Alday

A corporate slave who finds joy in motivating and leading people but ultimately yearns for weekends and plotted vacation leaves. An Engineering graduate who HATES Math. An acrophobic who conquers mountains. A lover of sleepy towns, dawn, poetry, pancit canton and cats.

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