Today I have been presented with two undeniable truths: breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I am not a strong man.
I am bad at mornings. Unless there’s something urgent or more pleasant than sleep, I can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 36 hours to get out of bed. This morning was one of the slower ones which culminated with me leaving myself about 20 minutes to get up, get dressed, feed several outraged cats, apologize profusely to those cats for my lateness, and get to the bus. I am a laughable hypocrite for teaching my students time management skills.
It’s on mornings like this that breakfast, like the cool kid on the bus, takes the backseat. I remember the leftover curry in my fridge like it’s a dog that ran away: I miss you, and I never deserved how good you were to me.
I missed breakfast, and 4 hours in a classroom with teenagers feels like 4 hours in a sulfur mine because, though I like them, these kids are draining my youth like it’s their job. The last time I felt this weak was when Safeway had a buy one get one free deal on whip cream. That night I feasted, and when it was all over, I lay in a pile of shame and empty canisters.
Today, a student left a muffin on his desk, and my will was tested. There was nobody in the room. The kids were on break, just me and the muffin. It looked blueberry, the kind with near-liquid pockets of berry substitute and as many natural ingredients as a Kardashian. I started running scenarios through my head that would culminate with me and the muffin together at last. I could wait for the student to come back and claim food wasn’t allowed in the classroom, but I had let that slide so many other times. I could try to buy it, but I didn’t have any cash, and he probably wouldn’t accept Expo markers as currency. I could steal it, say I hadn’t seen it, then abscond to the bathroom and make it part of me. That seemed wrong.
It was just me and the muffin for what felt like a lifetime, but a lifetime was not enough, and then they were back. Students flooded the room, returned from their break, and I finally agreed with them that it was too short. If I’d been alone with the muffin for just a moment longer, it would have been mine. I knew I would have taken it. I failed the test in spirit only.
It is humbling to see in yourself the capacity to literally take food from children, but this is something I must live with now. This inner muffin-demon is mine, and I will battle with it for all the years I have left. Every muffin that crosses my path is in danger, and it’s only a matter of time before I cannot stop myself.
I watched the muffin eaten, wrapper tossed aside carelessly. I saw the muffin top disappear, then the body, then there was only the thin paper clothing that had once shrouded my greatest temptation.