She sees herself walking, talking, observing. She thinks about purpose as she inches, then bounds across the seemingly stable tightrope of her mind. It’s an ordinary day doused in both monotony and fear. Promise is somewhere.
“Good morning,” she says.
“Good morning,” he says.
Her eyes smile and her ears frown. This stranger means nothing and everything.
“I’ll have a small latte with skim milk,” she says. She pays in cash, saves her quarters for laundry, and discards a dollar bill into the tip jar. He says thank you.
She hides the espresso milk leaf underneath a biodegradable lid, thinking about how someone else would turn this routine into a picture, make it seem like a trendy fall moment. She keeps it to herself and denies the jealousy tingling in her stomach.
“Have a great day,” she says.
“Have a good one,” he says. “See you tomorrow.”
Anonymity and kindness compete. She can’t control her thoughts but steers her own reality. “See you then,” she says. And she never goes back.