The cool breeze that subtly rustled through the tall palm trees on that Sunday morning greeted us as we made our way to the small restaurant. We had gotten up at a decent time to eat brunch and then spend the rest day together, but there was still a line waiting outside of the door with potential patrons holding white lettering printed on bright orange mugs filled with coffee.
Although the weather outside seemed a little gloomy, everyone seemed to be in an incredibly good mood. We put our names down on the waiting list and passed the next twenty minutes of time by taking a short stroll around the nearby shopping center.
We were seated somewhere in the middle of the breakfast/brunch establishment and our waitress immediately came over to ask us about our drink order.
“Would you like any coffee?”
“No thanks.” My significant other shook his head and politely refused the drink after asking about the juice selection. The restaurant had run out of apple juice. “I’ll just have a water then.”
“Yes, I’ll take some,” I said without skipping a beat.
Within a few minutes our promptly doting server brought our drinks and set down some cream and sugar. I immediately poured a combination of the ingredients that had been laid out on the table into a delicious concoction and sipped the steaming brew with delight.
“Wait. Didn’t you give up coffee for 40 days?”
“Oh my God! I totally forgot.” My eyes widened in disbelief, and now the seemingly perfect morning had gone sour. I thought to myself, how could I have allowed this to happen? “I’ve been so careful. I’ve even avoided my usual coffee shops and carried tea around with me.”
He looked at me from across the table. “See, you are addicted.”
“I am not. I genuinely forgot.”
I realized that my religious bet with my sister had been ruined until I had remembered a fact that had been fed to me in Catholic school.
I managed to reason with myself. “Technically the 40 days of Lent doesn’t include Sundays, so I kind of didn’t break the bet.” I sipped some more of my conveniently technically permissible temptation.
I had told my sister about the mishap later that day as I looked at the words that were inscribed on the refrigerator’s dry erase board. Jasmine will be giving up coffee for Lent beginning February 18th and ending April 4th.
My sister glanced back at the words on the fridge as well. “So, you totally messed up.”
I knew it wouldn’t really fly, but I tried to defend my innocent gaffe. “Technically the Sundays during Lent don’t count.”
“No, the bet is off. Jesus didn’t go out in the desert for a few days and then come back on Sundays for a rest before going out again.”
“I’ll continue to give up coffee for the rest of the time. Sundays included.”
I had lost the bet with my sister, but it was still Lent and I was still willing to prove to myself and everyone else that, despite the innocent mistake, I could quit coffee cold turkey (or at least until the rest of the time leading up to Easter).