Morning, Jo.

9 Mar

There is a woman at the counter in the bodega across the street. She stands by a door that opens a thousand times a day. The cold of the season rushes in like sadness each time. I pass by her every morning to order a bagel, plain, toasted, no butter. But she catches me without fail. “Hi! Coffee today?” Her smile is genuine and sweet and flashes, starry, past her dark complexion and shiny black hair. I take my coffee very light with skim milk and three Splendas. She knows. “Please,” I say and she is on it without instruction. She hands me my perfect blend and rings me up. Her smile continues throughout, as though this was the only expression she was capable. During the holidays, she wore a Santa hat. And in the bleak midwinter, I appreciate her more than she will ever know, this maiden of my coffee, the saint of the new Deli, the woman who saves me every morning from the bitterness longing to hold sway over my soul.

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