“There she is; same time every morning.” I turned from the cupboard I was arm deep in to turn to Mary and see what she was talking about. She was standing against the back counter with her arms crossed over her chest, sipping on an ice coffee with a bitch expression on her face.Hair from her bangs grazed over the top of her glasses and that didn’t help. She was standing there, staring at the crowd on the other side of the counter, customers, everywhere, waiting for and to order their coffee and bagels. This morning the air was filled with scents of coffee beans, chocolate, and milk; the music coming through the overhead speakers was jazz but the noise that you really heard was blenders, steam machines, and a French press, the soundtrack to my Monday Morning.
“Every morning that girl walks in here, and every morning Ryan tries to get her to notice him, but it never works.” She took another sip of drink, I turned my full body to the attention of the customer in line, my eyes darting between her and Ryan, who was becoming extremely flustered the closer she got to the register.
The customer was cute enough I thought. She had shoulder length chocolate colored hair, with matching eyes, somewhat on the short side, but it fit her small frame. She came in every morning to order a Tall Coffee Frappuccino on her way to school. She always smiled when she came in and made small conversations with whoever was working the cash register.This morning she was occupied on her phone. My eyes darted from the customer to an increasing nervous Ryan.
I was leaned against the back counter, arms crossed and at attention. We looked like twins, Mary and I, both standing there staring, (Except, she looked like a bitch where as I always have a positive look about me.) I would have been nervous about this little break, but I was a hard worker, and the line seemed to be getting shorter. Plus, I was my boss’s favorite. I took a sip of Mary’s ice coffee and kept watching.
“Here we go, freeze time,” Mary said as I handed her back the ice coffee, and I felt sorry for Ryan instantaneously. He looked pitiful really; sweat was starting to drip from the ugly hats we had to wear with our uniform and he couldn’t stop wiping his hands on the sides of his pants. The customer was still on her phone.
“You don’t know that. Maybe he’ll say something else today,” I tried to be empathetic.
“I doubt it,” Mary replied. “Let’s ask someone else.” Then as if on cue, Marcus walked by carrying two coffee stained blenders.
“Shouldn’t you two be doing something?” He asked as he placed the two dirty blenders in the sink behind Mary’s behind.
“We are doing something Marcus; we’re trying to see if Ryan will finally talk to that customer this morning.” I replied.
“Oh yea, that’s not going to happen,” Marcus answered as he glanced over to the counter.
“Told ya,” Mary added taking an extra long sip of coffee. Now the small trio we had become turned and watched the episode unfold at the order side of the counter. The customer looked like she was finished ordering, her head down to the screen of her phone moving her finger across the front. Ryan had her debit card in hand but looked like he wanted to ask her if she wanted a bagel. He hesitated for a minute, watched her play with her phone, gave up and swiped the card.
“Strike out yet again,” Marcus replied as he turned his back giving his attention again to the blenders. I let out a sigh so big it made my shoulders drop, and Mary went on making slurping noises with her straw. I was about to leave my spot when Ryan speed walked past me to the steamed milk machine. The show was not over.
“She ordered a hot drink this morning!” I might have said this a little too loud, but it was only because of the excitement in my voice. The three of us stood mesmerized as we continued to watch this form of boring entertainment. I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face, Marcus looked a little bit hopeful and Mary still looked like a bitch. We watched as Ryan made his way from one end of the counter to another. First, taking her order, moving down the line to pour her coffee, scooting more to pour her steam milk, then he stopped moving.
“What is he doing with the milk?” Mary asked. We all got on our toes to try and see over Ryan’s hunched frame, but with both Mary and I being five feet the only one with a good view was Marcus.
“He’s putting a design in her steamed milk,” he answered. Mary and I got on our toes a little higher, and craned our necks a little longer.
“Who knew he could do that?” Mary asked on her way back down to being flat footed.
“I think it’s cute! Do you think she’ll notice?” I asked, still optimistic.
“Only if he made a bleeding heart on top of her latte,” Mary responded making both Marcus and I roll our eyes at her.
“How do you get up in the morning already miserable? Nothing’s happened yet,” Marcus asked Mary as she cut her eyes in his direction. Before they were about to get into it, I stopped them.
“He handed her the coffee,” I stated. Impending argument forgotten, Mary and Marcus refocused their attention. Ryan handed the customer her coffee, she smiled her thank you, placed a lid on top without a second glance and turned to the milk and sugar station. Ryan and my shoulders seemed to drop in unison; he looked defeated, like someone just cancelled his favorite movie on Netflix. I felt so bad I thought I was going to cry.
Our small trip disbanded, Marcus went to the end of the counter he came from, I put my head back in the cupboard, and Mary went to make herself another ice coffee.