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Breakfast was a word I learnt in school and it was something that only characters in the picture books enjoyed. Breakfast at home was a cup of rough black coffee, so bitter that every morning, I managed to down only a third and poured the rest down the drain. We could not afford sugar, and milk too remained in the picture books.

One morning, my neighbour, a bachelor by the name of Jack, asked if I would go down to the bakery and buy his breakfast – buns filled with coconut shavings and brown sugar – a heavenly treat.

The children up and down the length of the street knew Jack as a generous soul. He worked in the naval dockyards and had a bicycle, his mode of transport to work and everywhere else. He rented a room, lived by himself and always had a kind word for us urchins.

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*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2011 ***