My phone alarm rings promptly at 6:00AM, and I drowsily hit the snooze button before snuggling softly back into my pillow. It is the first in-service day to start the school year, and it is depressingly dark out.
The smell of coffee wanders up the stairs, and at around 6:15, I hobble out of bed and follow my nose. I’m dressed in Soffee shorts and a long-sleeved Cape May tee, and my hair is thrown up in a bun.
Downstairs, it is chilly, and I yawn.
I pour a cup of coffee into my Tigger mug and watch as the steam rises from it. Brittany, my roommate, heads down the stairs, already dressed for work.
“Morning, girl,” she says, walking into the kitchen and giving me a sympathetic look.
“Morning,” I croak, giving a half-smile. “Coffee smells so good.”
“Yeah,” she says, pouring coffee from the pot into her commuter mug. “Yeah. I need that first morning sip.” I watch as she (amazingly) drinks it scalding hot. “Oh, yeah.” She licks her lips. “That’s good.”
“Coffee. Good,” I say and laugh before my stomach falls into a pit as I think about the day ahead and all of the unknowns that lie ahead. Starting a new school year is exciting but also nerve-wracking.
Outside, the landscape is draped in gray. It’s the early hours of the morning before the world has woken up, and everything is held together in a sleepy, collective state.
We stand in the kitchen for a few minutes. “Oh, man, I did not sleep well last night. I tossed and turned,” she says through sips of coffee, leaning on the counter.
“Really?” I say, because she usually sleeps pretty well. “I actually was able to fall asleep relatively early. But I had some crazy dreams last night,” I say, and shudder as I hazily begin piecing together the somewhat disturbing remnants of my dream.
It is still cold downstairs, but with the coffee mug in hand and Brittany and I laughing, it seems as though I am momentarily blocked from the constraints of the outside world as we stand in the orange glow of the kitchen.
Brittany grabs a banana, takes another sip of coffee, and wishes me luck for the day before heading out the door. I take a deep breath and trudge up the stairs realizing (oh come on!) that I have to wash my hair, and mentally prepare for the day and for the start of a new year.
Today, happiness is having a small moment of comfort, the calm before the storm: laughing with your roommate and sipping coffee in the kitchen before the sun has risen when the world is still charcoal-gray. Happiness is the fleeting moment of peace before the world demands your attention, when you have a simple, even if temporary, moment of stillness.