We had our first big fight when we were on our first big car trip. It was over a cup of coffee. Except, of course, it wasn’t really. You know what I mean.
We were driving from Regina, Saskatchewan to visit my family in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. It was early in the morning and we were navigating our way through Edmonton and we stopped for fuel and I said I’d really like a cup of coffee.
We could share one, he said.
Well, why don’t we each get our own, I said.
I think we should just share one, he said.
Fine, I said. But then don’t put any sugar in it because you know I don’t like it with sugar.
So when I took the first sweet sip … oh my goodness. It wasn’t pretty.
Because then it became about the thing that had happened the day before when we were packing, and that disagreement over how to read a map, and the way he had said good morning like he didn’t really care, and the long drive, and the hot day, and the coffee was simply the last straw.
We occasionally refer to The Coffee Incident. It has become symbolic of what happens when you allow misunderstandings and hurt feelings to accumulate.
Yesterday was my birthday. The boys and I had driven to Moose Jaw, where Lyndon was working, to spend a few nights in the hotel with him. I woke up in the morning to the sound of my husband getting ready to go to work. He said goodbye and headed out the door, only to slip back into the room a few minutes later with a bran muffin and a cup of coffee from the breakfast room down the hall.
Happy birthday, he said. One cream, no sugar. Just the way you like it.