Igor wants me to make a very weak excuse for coffee. One scoop, as opposed to the three I'd rather use, and entirely too much water. He is a tea drinker, and anyway he's cheap. To me, this is not worth doing. I'd rather offer our guests nothing.

But to be honest, this isn't just about my concern for the guests. See, I drink a good bit of coffee myself. Not for caffeine, necessarily. More so because the act of sipping coffee puts me at peace with my thoughts. I can't help but relax, drinking it, smelling it, feeling its warmth. Whomever I am acting out of concern for, making coffee entails not doing it in front of Igor and disposing of the filters before he sees them.

I work the 3-11 shift. This is 32 hours a week, no paycheck, just my room. Igor and whoever's behind him like to barter, and hold on tight to the cash. This suits me fine. My other job is at the truck stop. Twenty hours a week. No emotional attachment on my part. I survive just fine. I need very little..

Winter is here; it came not even a week ago, but it is in full effect. Three inches are on the ground and the TV in the lobby predicts another five. I believe it. I anticipate a handful of checkouts, not much else, with this weather. I will be alone, for the most part.

I used to work much harder, for much more money, doing something that doesn't help people as much as I do now. My priorities sucked. It is why I never got married, never had children. It is why I fell out of touch with good people. So, a while back, I quit. And so I am here. I now have time to read books, watch TV, if a guest wants small talk, they'll get it from me. I don't have meditation down, but I can drink the coffee mindfully. And I can hear myself think. I learn more about who I am. I don't like some of it.

I'm checking someone out at 6pm and my phone chimes. He leaves and I look at it. From someone I haven't talked to in years.


Instructions not to worry, too. They barely remember it. Wishing me well.

Not to worry! I'm glad I saw fit to reach out and apologize. I pour a tall cuppa and look out the glass door into the parking lot. It's completely dark now. The snow falls rapidly. The tracks of the man who left have already disappeared.

I sip the coffee, black, bitter, hot and strong. It burns my tongue and makes me feel alive.

Yeah, I think I'll be okay.

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