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bitter coffees and sweet tomorrows

bitter coffees and sweet tomorrows

[Sips, sips, sips]
You know that moment when the sunlight peeks through your bedroom window making you half-awake. Wearing your loose white sando, checkered jammies, and mismatched socks from the night before. With the smell of sunny-side up, hot coffee, and fried rice being tossed and turned in the pan. And that 90s beat of your favorite Sunday classic on the radio – there is no better way to start one’s morning.

“Ahhh, it burns.”

A bitter taste of reality.

During this pandemic, I choose bitterness. I start my day with a cup of coffee without cream, without sugar – just plain black. This is my tiny way of reminding myself that the world out there is bitter.

Not to burst that bubble of positivity you have, but that’s just how living is. It is bad, it is unfair, and it is not safe, especially with the pandemic. People are poor, suddenly a lot became unemployed, and most are hungry.

This lockdown made us choose between dying from sickness or starvation. The government is generous enough to impose a quarantine without any plan for those who do not have a stable job, and that’s about 70 percent of the Filipinos.
“Ahhh, it’s perfect.”

We cannot afford your Starbucks, it’s too classy.

It’s funny how a few are somewhat thankful for the national quarantine. It gives us a chance to unwind and take a vacation away from the real world, they say.
I have been seeing posts from celebrities and influencers saying we should spend this free time to reconnect with our family, with nature, and with ourselves. Some even call out people to simply follow the policy for it is not that big of a deal.
Well, I hate to break it but that’s not how life works for everyone.

I am sorry but not all of us are lucky enough to worry about how to feed our family. Not all of us have stable jobs. Not all of us have a house of our own. Not all of us can pay our monthly bills easily. Not all of us are privileged. Not all of us. . . No.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Taking a time off is totally good but while you enjoy what you call a vacation, people outside the comfort of your homes are drowning with debts just to eat once a day, at least.

Jeepney drivers, street vendors, and those who don’t have the luxury of time and money to lay around their houses all day barely survive.
[Sips, sips]
“Ahhh, it’s almost empty.”

If I am a coffee, I sure am a mixture of black and cream

I am neither rich nor poor. I do not have much allowance but I eat three times a day. I do not have a car but I can pay for my fare. My house is far from school but at least I have one of my own.

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I worry about how the pandemic will affect my life but not to the extent of whether my family can survive every day or not. I know how awesome it feels to be privileged yet I also know how brutal it is to be poor.

People nowadays are so consumed by the idea of self-care that it turns them to be more self-centered. I sometimes wonder if social media have overflowing solutions, why is the society outside still overwhelmed with problems.
[Sips, gulp]
“Ahhh, another bitter coffee.”

Since the pandemic started, I began to make my coffee hot, plain and bitter. You should try it too. I strongly believe that for the privileged, it is a must.

It will slap you to wake up from your long, fantastical dream. It will help you taste the bitter reality most people have right now. I hope it will make you do something for them, something outside your tweets and posts – something really helpful. Because only then, when you start to realize how coffee tastes for them, that’s when you’ll start to really care. And you can do it – little by little, one less spoon of sugar a day.

That’s when they can taste another flavor of life – that it can be sweet for them too.

So why don’t you make your coffee bitter for a change? Then we can all share our sweet tomorrow. After all, a bitter today sweetens our tomorrow even more.
[Puts down the cup]

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