Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee
It was a bitter cold. The wind blowed like Ikea. All bluster, taupes and blues, thinner when you’re in it than looking on from the outside. I watched a small yellow dog run laps around her owner. I thought: we’re stuck together, little dog, the same home, same ground, you and me, like it or not.
I worked today. It’s a Saturday. That always throws me off. So instead here’s a story: I used to work at a coffee shop tucked up one level in a Barnes and Noble. It had its own podium, tables, chairs, but you could see the whole store so you felt both a part and apart. When it was busy, I smoked lattes off the steamer. When it wasn’t, I’d watch bits of rain come down the windows.
There was one customer who always ordered a hot cider. He came alone, mostly, once with his daughter. He had a bald head and black eyes and wore button-ups, was important, or looked that way, and his vice was the hot juice, that sugar. Unlike the other regulars he wouldn’t talk to you and if you asked his name he wouldn’t repeat it. He wasn’t sour, just stoic, looking past us, self-absorbed, but in an endearing way, like school teachers, or marble statues. Late nights, closing the cafe on a Saturday, he’d show, and we’d talk (about the order), and then he’d leave, and I’d forget about him, pass him out, pass the gallstone, until I saw him again. But now that he’s so far gone from me, I catch stories going over in my mind of his face and features, because it bugs me, wondering who he is, this person I used to see so regularly, and what he’s doing now.
That was it, the whole story. Was it alright?
Sicker winds in the evening. The kind you want to hold, wrap in blankets, inhale, a sense of camaraderie.
Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin
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On the way down the hill we walked three abreast in the cobblestone street, drunk and laughing and talking like men who knew they would separate at dawn and travel to the far corners of the earth.Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary