I had a laundry list of chores to get done today, and not enough time to complete all of them. I had already been scrambling to get the biggest items finished.
I was just finishing up at the dry cleaners. This was my third stop today. I always liked getting my dry cleaning done at the 41st Street Dry Cleaners because they were right across the street from my favorite coffee shop.
I J-walked over to my car and threw the door open with my one free finger. I always waited till I was completely out of clothes to drop them off for cleaning. It added a little excitement when I had to be creative with my wardrobe choices.
I neatly laid the plump garment bags on my back seat. Those little hooks that are on the car for hanging things were so small. They seemed pointless to me. I usually ended up having a crumpled heap of clothing by the time I would get home because they’d inevitably fall off of the hook. It was just easier to lay them on my backseat.
Satisfied that they weren’t going anywhere, I closed my door and pranced into the coffee shop. All of the baristas knew me. I came almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I was on the verge of becoming an addict.
“Hey Cindy. How’s it going today?” I asked when I saw the manager wiping down the counter. “Been busy?”
“Hey stranger. I haven’t seen you in a few days. I was worried we would have to report you missing.” She laughed. “Nah it’s been slow. People don’t come in like they do on the cold cloudy days. But can’t complain.”
“Glad to hear it.” I walked over to the till and looked at the menu.
I, having been here so much, pretty much knew the menu by heart, but it still didn’t keep me from blankly staring at it anyway.
“So what’ll it be today Kal?”
“Oh you know, I don’t know.” I joked with Sam.
Sam was my favorite out of all of the workers. She was always in a good mood. And she had a special skill to know exactly what a person was craving, even when they didn’t know themselves.
“Give me your best recommendation.”
“Well..” she thought, “sweet or sassy today?”
“Definitely sassy.” I said thinking about my huge list of things to do still.
“Ok let’s do a flat white with an extra shot. Sound good?”
“That sounds perfect!” I pictured how it would taste and my mouth watered with excitement.
“One flat white coming up.”
She hit a few buttons on the till and told me my total. I paid her in cash and walked down to the end of the counter.
“One flat white.” Cindy chirped as she set my drink on the counter.
“It amazes me how quick you are at making drinks. I don’t know how you do it.”
“Many many hours of practice.” She giggled.
I grasped the warm cup filled with liquid happiness and, waving goodbye to everyone, stepped back into the crisp outside air.
I was almost to my car when I stopped and did a double take.
I saw a little girl duck behind a post office box. I knew she was looking at me. There was something familiar about her. About the situation.
I stayed put for a few more seconds, and it was just long enough for her to peek her face around the corner of the box again. And in that moment I realized who she was.
She was me when I was little.