Every morning, I go to the same coffee shop

Every morning, I go to the same coffee shop I have since my walk was an uncoordinated waddle

Not the kind of coffee shop that has one location every ten miles and

attracts the people who ache for that burst of caffeine to give them

just enough energy to crawl through the jobs that they complain about

But the kind of coffee shop with chipped paint and wooden chairs that

creak when you let them bear your weight and warmth baked into the grooves of the red brick walls

 

The kind of coffee shop with devout customers passing through the door every morning

An elderly man with wire-rimmed glasses who never orders anything and just sits where the

window meets the wall and stares at picture frames housing photos of families he pretends are his own

A little girl with curly blonde pigtails tied off with pink ribbons that bounce when she comes

skipping through the door with her starving artist of a mother who sips black coffee and

stares at white paper while the girl scribbles on napkins with the same two crayons

A guy fresh out of college with a girlfriend who lives a few hundred miles from here

He sends her pictures of his breakfast so they can at least come close to sharing meals

 

I try not to count down the days before

The guy’s girlfriend becomes more pixels on a screen than she is human

The little girl wears down her crayons and her starving artist of a mother

isn’t able to buy her new ones

The elderly man meets his fate like the rest of his family

The warmth is mistaken for age and the chairs are seen as a safety concern and

the paint chips to the point of decrepitude

 

I try not to count down the days before

I am shoved into an unforgiving plastic seat surrounded by the type of heels that squish toes

and blazers with too much padding at the shoulder and the type of sincerity

that needs rehearsing and people who are nothing without something to complain about

 

I try not to count down the days before

I skip my morning coffee because

I would rather have no coffee  than coffee that is cold

in every sense of the word

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