Day 6: Second person coffee.
You used to hate coffee. When you were six or seven you watched your older sisters make the big glass pot after tea every night for your mum and dad. You wanted to push down the filter every time but you always had to wait a few minutes to let the granules settle. The smell was so warm and fresh. They let you try it once. Without sugar and milk. Just black. You took a teaspoon and sipped it like soup, stretched your face out.
"Your tastebuds will change when you get older," your mum said. You didn't believe her. That stuff tasted like soil.
But you loved it in everything else. Coffee was one of your top three, along with chocolate and anything mint or fruit flavoured. You made coffee creams at Guides when you were ten. They were sweet and you ate five at once and when they were all gone you kept meaning to make some more, but by the time you got around to it you had left Guides to move to Wales and forgotten the recipe. You had to walk all the way to the library to use the internet. Thornton's was closer.
You made coffee cake every year for your Mum's birthday, and Dad's too. You licked the icing bowl and you imagined one day you might enjoy the taste of real coffee like they do, but could it be better than the sugar laden topping of your favourite cake?
When you went to university, tiredness became a daily problem. In year two, your housemate had some coffee and a cafetiere like the one your parents had at home. She made a pot and you watched with fond memory of your kitchen at home and after tea coffee and biscuits. She offered you a cup and you said you weren't sure.
"It's not very strong," she said. You were always saying you wanted to try new things. It didn't taste like you remembered. It was hot and dark and tasted like your mouth was being awakened.
"Thank you," you said. Finally, finally!
You bought your own coffee pot. That idiot smashed it and didn't hide the evidence, then pretended he didn't know what you were talking about. You bought another and it was your incentive to get up at 8 o'clock every day, after six hours sleep and a day of writing ahead of you. You upgraded to strength 4, then 5. You asked for an extra shot in the University's refectory. You always took it black. No milk, no sugar. You felt your eyes drooping in the shivering IT suite one snowy January Sunday.
You drank more. Sometimes it made you so alert you couldn't sit still - couldn't concentrate on the work you needed to stay awake for. It made your stomach worse. You cut down to just one cup a day, in the mornings when you were most tired. You slept when you needed to. You worked when you could. You wished there was something that could make you happy, and give you the top grades too.
Eventually, it gave you the first class you never thought about until that year. By then it had become a chore to drink the stuff, it was your enemy. But it kept you going. Then, when it all settled - when you moved back home - you rekindled your love and made it slowly. Pouring the water into the pot a few mintues after it had boiled to save spoiling the taste. You toasted bread and spread with peanut butter and topped with sliced bananas. You watched This Morning and Friends and held it in your hands, your friend coffee. You drank it for its taste, and now you can sleep.