The Breakfast Club
by gina below
The smell of coffee niggled me awake and and it took a moment for my sleepy eyes to register that it was still dark out. My little iron bed by the window afforded me a perfect view of the front porch and yard but alas it was still shrouded in heavy blackness, not even a fuzzy silvery hint of dawn peeked out on the horizon. I rolled over to investigate but the tiny bedroom I shared with my parents and younger sister was dark as well.
Now bacon joined the wonderful smell of coffee and my curiosity became stronger than my fear of the dark and I timidly slid out of my bed to peek around the chest of drawers that helped create my private little sleeping cubby hole. A faint light shone from the kitchen and I tippy-toed toward it cautiously. Murmurs of conversation drew me froward and I recognized the voices of my parents and a smile came to my face as I made my way undaunted to the doorway. They had not heard me and I stood watching them for long minutes. "I must be dreaming" I thought to myself for I seldom had one of them to myself much less both of them. I am after all one of seven. My Father smoked at that time and it gave the kitchen a misty dreamy haze as the smoke trailed off the cigarette that he held steepled in his hands as he sat at the table. I had always loved the way he looked at her when he thought no one was looking, and I often wondered if she knew.
I must have made a sound because my Father turned and looked at me and said "Good morning sleepy head" and he smiled that dazzling smile of his, the one that went all the way to his blue eyes. My Mother turned to see me in the doorway of the tiny kitchen, with concern in her eyes she asked, "Are you alright"? I twitched my head yes and she smiled a beautiful relieved smile. Daddy motioned for me to come closer and I barely hesitated a second before I launched myself into his waiting arm and he hugged me tightly to his right side while he put out the cigarette with his left hand. "Did you come to have breakfast with me?", he asked as he kissed the top of my head. I smiled and nodded thinking myself clever for planning such a thing. He just smiled at me as I turned to hastily scramble up into the old ladder back chair next to his that sat at the old laminate table. I needed his assistance to make it into the chair but he was happy to oblige. When I got myself situated with my knobby knees pointing toward him instead of under the table I beamed a proud smile at him. My feet were miles off the floor but I scooted to the very edge of the chair so I could bend my knees and my feet barely reached the top rung of the chair.
My Mother sat a plate in front of me with half a hot buttered biscuit with homemade strawberry jelly on it and a small helping of scrambled eggs with bacon and beside that she put a small glass of milk. I picked up the biscuit and started to nibble making sure to get as much jelly as possible on myself, it is an art form after all. My Daddy picked up his coffee cup that my Mother had just refilled and with a smile dancing in his eyes he asked " Is that jelly good?" With my mouth full and my face sticky I nodded and he laughed. He had a great laugh that came easy to him and his eyes seemed to sparkle with it. "Are you going to eat those eggs?" he asked as he put down his coffee cup. Yes I nodded.. "I bet you can't" he dared as he scooped a spoonful up and pretended he was going to eat it. He smiled at my expression as I countered with "I can too" and I ate the spoonful that he floated in front of me. This continued on until the last spoonful was proudly swallowed and he said as I chewed, "Well I guess you were right" and he rewarded me by picking me up in his arms as he rose from his chair. He hugged me tight to his chest disregarding any stray bits of jelly biscuit and I clung just as tightly to his neck He walked toward the door and handed me off to my Mother as he kissed her goodbye and thanked me for eating breakfast with him. I blushed as he kissed my sticky cheek and then he walked out the door and into the dark toward his truck to go to work. The hint of a pre-dawn glow touched the horizon just above the trees as his old truck started up.
It would not occur to me until many years later that he had finished his breakfast and had been ready to leave for work when I had appeared in the doorway but he and Mother had sat down and had another cup of coffee just to spend the time with me. I would join them several more times for meetings of the Breakfast Club a warm plate of food always waiting for me. To this day I cannot smell coffee or bacon and not think of those early morning gatherings in our cozy little kitchen. It is one of my most favorite memories.