Her face lifted and brightened as I approached the counter and I gave my best wary smile.
“I’d, um, like the – ”
“WOW. It has been a long time.”
I focused on the woman.
She was a small woman with blonde hair pulled starkly back into a short ponytail. She was woman that as a child probably already had a hard, angular look and when the tint of age began to seep in, her face welded into a mask of worn porportions. It was a look of rough life, but to me it somehow was a look that spoke more to a life that is being made more hard than it needs to be. I had never seen her before.
“It has been a really long time since I’ve seen you,” she said excitedly. “How have you been? Wow, it’s been a long while since I’ve seen you. It’s been months since you’ve been here, right?”
I bit taken aback as I quickly calculated, “It’s been a while…sure.” I nod slowly at her.
“I knew it!” She gave me a large grin. “How are you?”
She asks if I’ve graduated and what I’m currently doing, a constant hum of genuine pleasure from every question. I start to feel a little umcomfortable. As she takes my order, she takes my name and nods authoritatively with recognition as I give it.
She leans back to put the order to the sandwich makers behind her and I had a thought. Leaning a hand on the counter I asked, “And…I’m sorry…your name is?” She spun back forward, brightening even more. We banter on a bit more and then she curls over the cash machine, “You know what?” She pulls out a extra large cup, “The least I can do for a long lost customer.”
First, an extra-sized drink – next, the world.