Friday, June 30, 2006

Don't cry... Lady at the store

I went to the coffee shop on my way back from work today. I got so used to that place that the lady who works there knows exactly what I need based on the time of the day I show up. I go there every morning in the weekdays for my cappuccino. She knows exactly how I like it and she knows that I like to add the cup holder myself. On Friday afternoon, I get my lunch there. I walked in as she got off the phone. As I smile at her, she looked at me and I could see that she was crying. She was getting ready to heat up my sandwich but I asked for a cappuccino instead. She told me that it was fine and that she would heat up the sandwich in a hurry. I said yes. I could not argue with her tears and I felt that I could not take this away from her. This little feeling of control she has over her life knowing that she knows what her customers need. She wrapped it with a lot of care and handed it to me with the best smile she could come up with. I wondered what she was crying about. It could be that she was calling home where she left her children and she was feeling homesick. Either that or her man had left her. I haven’t seen him there for a while now. It could be that the business is not going very well. I tried to be as loyal as I could as a customer and I advertised for the place. It was one of those shops that keep on going out of business. You know them, there’s one on each block. They open as a bakery then a nail salon then a tailor then a coffee shop and finally they always close. Or it could be both. It could be trouble with her man over the way business is going. They came to this country for success not survival and now he’s not adapting to their new life. She might be adapting better and he does not like it. Every night at dinner, she tells him stories about people who come in the store. She tells him about the new friend she made and how she will take her to the hairdresser next Saturday. She will pick up a movie that her neighbor at the drycleaner recommended. He was getting fed up with her stories and with their life. He misses home…
Or maybe she just has allergies.
I called you when I came home and you didn’t pick up.
I wanted to tell you about the lady at the coffee shop.
Maybe you’re fed up with my stories.

(pic: Wilfrid Hoffacker)

9 comments:

Mar said...

Have you read " I, the Divine" ? the customer/You reminded me of Sarah, the divine, when she came to the states with her first husband. You have to read this book.

Mirvat said...

i haven't but yes i should. i feel it would make me even more convinced of leaving here.

_z. said...

Ahhh the beauty of the everyday life, in an urban setting in a bustling urbane city. And you describe it so well.
Palimpsest of memories, emotions and existence.

Dry Gin Martini said...

actually I had just finished corresponding with her by email and send her my picture, and she started crying because she missed out on a lifetime with me. True story!

hashem said...

Mirvat,I do the same sometimes....make up stories about people, and what was behind their reactions....
most of them are reflections of mine...
it's easier to think about these stories being lived by other people...
so nicely written btw.

Mirvat said...

_Z. thank you, i can see how your love of big cities and urban settings adds another perspective to your work from the way you talk about it.

LC, isn't that why all women cry? losing the chance of being with you of course ;)

hashem, it's definitely a reflection of what i'm going through and it has some sort of consolation to try and convince myself that other people feel as frustrated or disappointed as i am.

Rewa said...

fell in love with the details in this piece, wonderful analogy! oh and thanks for visiting my blog!!

Mirvat said...

thanks rewa

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