She opens the door and sees that the cafe is packed. The woman in a suit on a Saturday afternoon, walks in with her briefcase supported by her slouching right shoulder. Damn it, she thinks to herself. I’m most likely going to have to share a table with someone.
She approaches the coffee bar. “Excuse me,” she calls out to barista, who turns around and smiles. “Do you have any other open spots? Is there another room somewhere? It’s crowded in here,” she explains. The barista looks around, as if she had never looked out at all the tables before and with a perky, almost annoying tone in her voice says, “Nope! That’s all the room we’ve got! Can I get you something to drink?” The woman smiles condescendingly, wishing that there was another coffee shop in the area with free Wi-Fi. Why do they say “free” anyway, when they expect you to buy something in the place?
“Yeah,” says the woman,”What’s the cheapest thing you’ve got?” When she asks, she actually looks at this girl, who couldn’t be any older than 18, with a frumpy, old smock of an apron covering her athletic build and sky blue polo. She sort of felt bad for the girl, but figured it must of been the only gig around that would pay a girl to serve coffee out of a giant, pump-able coffee container. “Well,” said the girl, “the cheapest are these single cookies right here for 50 cents each. But if you want coffee, we have a small regular coffee for $1.25.”
The woman couldn’t help but let out a sigh and say, “Give me one of each. That’s what, $1.75?”
“$1.88 with tax, ma’am.”
“Ma’am” every time the woman heard that she either smiled or frowned. When did she get old enough to be called “ma’am”?
“Do you want it for here or to go?” the girl asked.
“Might as well put it in a to-go cup. If there’s no room here, I’m going to have to move elsewhere,” answered the woman taking her change.
“You can always share a table with someone else. People do it all the time,” suggested the girl as she grabbed the cookie out of the jar and put it in a small white paper bag.
People don’t have as much paperwork and crap to do like I do, thought the woman. It’s not like I can get work done anywhere else.
She took the small bag and coffee in one hand, her briefcase hanging over the opposite shoulder, and turned around. “Have a nice day, ma’am. Come back soon!” said the girl, behind her back.
The woman scoped the place one last time. There was one open spot against the wall at the bar-like table that sat five comfortably. She squeezed her way though all the hipsters and the young folk, white ear buds plugging them into the computers, blocking out the rest of the world. Without saying a word and hitting only two tables and a chair, and without spilling her coffee, she finally got to her seat. She put her coffee cup and cookie down, hung her briefcase on the chair and tidied up herself by pulling down on her suit jacket, making sure her hair was still up in one bun, preparing herself to sit down. Once she finally did, she opened up her leather briefcase a special someone had given her with her initials on it and pulled out her laptop.
As she did, out flew a stack of papers and the outlet to charge the computer. “Damn it!” she said out loud, flustering others around her as she hurriedly jumped off of the stool chair and went after her documents. No one else moved, except for the girl from behind the counter who had obviously been making rounds, cleaning up after people who had left messy tables and had not pushed in their chairs. “Don’t worry, ma’am!” she said, “I got them for you!” As they were both on the floor bent over, scrambling to pick up the papers, the woman said, “Oh, you don’t have to… that’s great… oh, can you reach… Thank you.”
They stood up and the girl handed her the disorganized stack. As she tried to fix them into one coherent batch, a few fell out again. As the girl bent over to pick them up, she couldn’t help but read one in dark bold letters: “Financial Agreement,” it read. “Certificate As To Divorce.” She looked up at the woman’s face after staring at it for a bit too long, handed it back and said, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to read it.”
Behind her, the door bell jingled. She picked up a glass and headed back to the front counter. “Hi! How are you today?” she said in her high-pitched, chipper voice. “What can I get for you to drink?”