August in Florida was a time of long, languid days. Of course, there was very little that was languid in my life; I was a graduate student, and therefore, lived life on the run. The week passed in a blur of the usual academic labors, deadlines and such like. But when Saturday rolled around, it was like life said “Ah!” and stretched out its sandaled feet on a deck chair.
On Saturday mornings, you opened your eyes, looked around, and then shut them again. The delicious knowledge that this was Saturday sank in. Then you stretched, luxuriously. And proceeded to slip back into that particular type of slumber that is somewhere between sleep and wakefulness…a quiet, rosy, sun-dappled state that would eventually pass like the sand in an hourglass. Then, you awoke.
And what did you do then? You headed like a well- trained hound, straight to the coffee. Most Saturdays I would be the first of the three inmates in our apartment to awaken. Thus, it would fall on me to do the honorable duty of brewing the coffee. And this was a ritual in itself- the heaped spoons of the coffee gifted to us by a friend from Belize, the rumblings of the coffeemaker, the aroma, and finally the precious brew in all its rich, steaming glory. I liked mine only in my chipped college mug, with lashings of hazelnut flavored cream.
I would often carry my mug and sit on the staircase right outside our door. Now this staircase offered a view that could gladden the heart of even the most jaded and cynical: a stretch of turquoise-blue swimming pool, wooden decks, hanging willows, fragrant summer flowers and of course, Florida sunshine in a sky like hard-baked blue ceramic. All you had to do was take one sip of coffee with this picture before you. It was amazing, how you would be instantly convinced that all was right with the world, and whatever horrors your professors threw at you the next week, you would overcome.
The roommates would usually be stirring by now, and I would head indoors for another round. We would lounge on our couch and discuss everything from pedicures to politics, aided and abetted by mugs of that fiendishly invigorating brew. It never occurred to us to stress over, or even be mindful of the several pending assignments we would invariably have lurking in our book-bags. Saturday morning was a time reserved for ourselves and our couch and our coffee, and we seamlessly adhered to this protocol each and every weekend.
Later in the evenings, I would often meet up with other friends. One favorite watering hole was a café by the lake, where the best place to sit was out on the deck in view of the water. I considered it almost a crime to be indoors on a summer evening, and thus endeavored to savor as many varieties of coffee as I could on that deck by the lake. I was joined by many like-minded souls on this noble endeavor, and I wish I could tell you some of the secrets we shared over our cappuccinos, Costa Rican blends, or flavored lattes. Thus satiated and convinced that the universe was in harmony, I would head back with the satisfaction that Saturday had been reaped of all its luxuriating possibilities. Just that one day was reason enough to go through the whole week of hard labor…and it was enjoyed best steaming hot, flavorful and in the company of friends.