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The mornings belonged to me and daddy. I'd rise well before the sun was up, and my small voice would pierce the silence. Daddy would hear it, and come and lift me from my still warm blankets. He'd carry me to the living room, and we'd sit in the big rocker. Then we waited. We waited for the sun to rise, until the glow had brightened enough to fade out the red light on the stereo. I watched that red light the whole time while waiting. It was a constant, always on, but only visible in the shadowy darkness that slept in our living room.

Then, when the light had broken through the shades, it was time to make coffee. In the kitchen, daddy would quickly make me a small cup of chocolate milk. I'd sip that until he got out the bag of coffee beans and poured them into the grinder. He would then hold my small fingers over the button that powered the grinder until the beans were finely ground.

"Smell the beans,." he'd tell me."They're the best smell we've got." I'd smell them, as he told me to, letting their rich aroma fill my nose. He'd help me measure the ground coffee into the filter, and pour the water over it. We would wait for the coffee to finish brewing, pour two cups out, and stir in cream and sugar, using color as a measurement.

The first time I sipped the bitter liquid he had laughed at the shocked face, laced with tears of surprise. "It tastes different than it smells." He had managed to say through the laughter. I told him I would never try it again.

Now, I realize that coffee, as a drink enjoyed universally in many forms, unites us. Dad, as a coffee aficionado, spent a good amount of time trying to teach me that. Sometimes, when we cannot see eye to eye, I know that we can always return to that coffee brewing state. It's impossible to hold a grudge early in the morning.

Even though I'm in high school, I still rise early. Dad hears my footsteps plod downstairs and assumes that it's time for him to go make coffee. Perhaps I am his alarm clock, as I was as a toddler. While I groggily eat my cereal, shivering in the chilly kitchen, he brews coffee. He doesn’t actually have to open his eyes to perform his ritual of coffee making. He does anyway, smiling at me while I swirl my soggy cereal. Then, he will pour me a cup of coffee, and leave it by the coffee pot. I dump cream and sugar in while he pours two more cups. The pot will remain full for the day, for anyone who needs a cup, or a taste of that simple luxury.

Habit is a comfort, something that envelopes us, a reminder of safety in the world we live in. It's something we don't have to stretch ourselves to maintain, but can simply achieve by being who we are. It is habit that grounds us when we want to fly too high, and habit that binds us together.



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