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“…and when we no longer know which way to go,/ we have begun our real journey.”
Wendell Berry

The Right Time for Coffee But Not for the Boy

“I don’t have to make you packed school lunches to love you. My love for you is a precious feeling inside of me,” said the Mother to the Boy.
The Boy would get up in time to make his school lunch, pack his satchel and gym bag and also early enough to make coffee for the Mother and the Father. They said they found it hard to get up in the morning and the coffee helped them be ready in time.

The Boy would put a new filter in the right place above the glass jug in the percolator, and add eight measuring spoons of coffee. The Mother liked her coffee with cream and half a spoonful of sugar. The Father liked his black. The Boy did not like coffee but it smelt good when he cut open the golden foil and the vacuum packet sucked in air sharply through the newly formed mouth and then let go of a rich exotic nose of coffee.

The Mother and the Father wanted to be woken with the coffee at twenty to eight so they could wake up slowly in time to leave at ten to eight.

The Boy did not like being late. The Mother said she tried really hard. But she wouldn’t want the coffee any earlier.

The Boy had tried to bring the coffee earlier anyway. But then the Mother had got cross because it was too early. He had tried to get them out of bed earlier but then the Father had got cross because it was too early. The Boy had tried to get them to leave the house earlier but then the Mother had got cross because he he was hurrying them too much.

“Schools in Germany start too early”, the Mother said. “In England, it is much better. They start later. It is more humane. I can’t get up so early in the morning.”

“But I have to get up so early in the morning,” thought the Boy.

“I will do what I can but I can’t do anymore. I am who I am,” said the Mother.

One day, the Boy put all the clocks in the house forward. Only by ten minutes. Because he did not want to be late again. He made the coffee ten minutes early. Some pouring cream with half a spoon of sugar for the Mother. Black for the Father. He opened the door to the bedroom ten minutes early. He set the coffee mugs down on the shelf.

“Coffee is ready,” the Boy said. “It’s time to get up.” He heard the usual mixture of noises, unwillingness to face the time, the “Thank you for coffee” which felt good for the Boy. He made his way out of the bedroom, pleased with himself, hopeful that he would be on time today.

Perhaps it was something in his voice. Perhaps the Mother’s inner clock was so finely tuned.

When the Mother got up a little later, she brought with her an alarm clock. The Boy had not thought about an alarm clock. He had forgotten about it because he was the alarm clock.

“You have put the clocks forward, Boy!” she shouted. There was spit coming from her mouth when she spoke. Her face was red. “You know how difficult it is for me to get p in the morning. I could have had another 10 minutes sleep.”

“Never do that again!” she threatened and indeed went back to bed.

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