The perfect day has to start with the perfect morning, and no morning routine is complete without a bowl of Reese’s Puffs cereal. Cereal, by nature, is the perfect fuel for someone like myself; I was raised by parents who stressed breakfast as the most important meal of the day, but I’m personally too apathetic to prepare a full, wholesome meal. Fortunately, Reese’s Puffs is the pinnacle of modern cereals, a reigning champion of delicious breakfast eatery.
As I transitioned into college, my diet saw a noticeable shift; instead of cereal, school lunch, and my mother’s delicious Polish cooking, I now solely relied on the healthy balance of cereal and pizza. The first lesson that college taught me was that days would melt together seamlessly, with time carrying almost no meaning, albeit for deadlines and shifts at work. The second lesson that college taught me was that, once in a great while, at some undeterminable point on the slurred timeline of existence, mornings would burn with a new light because one of the plastic containers in the dining hall would be filled with Reese’s Puffs.
Mornings had a familiar and comfortable routine. I’d sleep through my first alarm, ignore my second, and finally get out of bed once the third alarm began. The third alarm was my half-asleep roommate, shouting obscenities from across the room. The walk to the dining hall was often colder than I’d like, and the meal itself was often lonelier than I’d like to admit. The morning crew at the dining hall were strangers to seeing a smile on my face, but filling that orange, ceramic cereal bowl with Reese’s Puffs managed to lighten the mood enough for me to allow myself to smile. Or half of a smile, at least.
The next step of the routine was to navigate towards my usual spot, the window seat of a table meant for four, but never fully filled. Instead of making casual conversation with a friend, I’d sit quietly in my seat, slouched over the table, staring down into today’s bowl of cereal. I liked to think. I’d sit there, staring and thinking, slowly chewing on small spoonfuls of assorted tan and brown pebbles of various grains, dyes, and sugars. The edges of the bowl served as a frame for a tiny, moving painting, and I was the artist, the spoon a brush that I could manipulate with ease, constantly creating, destroying, and recreating an edible, abstract masterpiece.
Years ago, I’d sit at home, staring into a different bowl of cereal. Yet years ago, I was not as calm and reserved as I am today. I had not yet felt the repetitive exhaustion of defeat or felt the hopeless sting of my first true tears. I was still the young optimist whose enjoyment, and borderline obsession, of Reese’s Puffs was still in effect, because I could still taste them. Years ago, I didn’t sit quietly and stare into a bowl of cereal, thinking of art or poetry. I would race the clock to see how quickly I could finish my breakfast, smiling when I spilled milk onto the counter or floor and laughing at my mother’s playful scolding. Years ago, I still had dreams of becoming an artist, of painting pictures as bright as my imagination, because the world had so much to offer and I had just as much to offer to the world.
Now, I’d finish my bowl of cereal, filled with Reese’s Puffs not because I thought they tasted any better than Kix, or Life, or Count Chocula, but because I liked the faint feeling of nostalgia. Because when I was younger, I didn’t know too much, and it was a little bit better then.
Because years ago, I didn’t know that nothing, not even a bowl of Reese’s Puffs, could guarantee a perfect day.
I need a few good books, but nothing interesting. I’d like to feel dead for a week and sleep like I’m already gone.