Three days away from dropping bagels into brown paper bags, asking for 34.57 in change, folding pastry boxes, and pressing the flash button on the white cord phone to answer “Yes, we’re open”–three days away from going back to work.
Three more days of travel, clouds draping the mountains of West Virginia, the wet dreariness of Indiana, the rocky cliffs and tiny waterfalls of Kentucky; and three more days of peanut butter and chocolate fudge in tin containers, card games and poker chips around the living room table, lost keys and youtube videos about how to break into minivans, and pizza that slides in the trunk of a car until the cheese makes a mountain at one end and a prairie at the other.
Three more days of tasting the life of past cups of coffee in Winston Salem–when they put brown sugar on top and served it in mason jars; at the hometown Starbucks before the new one was built, and days were far colder and the heart was darker; and the bitter echoes of age-old camp coffee in Michigan and the vibrant hues of bookstore coffee in Charleston, where I looked at the sunset and first chose to believe in love, while the rest of me died.
Three more days of reading the New Yorker in the back seat of a minivan; reading a Facebook post about starting my first “real” job three years ago; running a red light trying to get to work at the coffee shop last summer; listening to Colton Dixon as I paced the empty running track of a high school, trying to run the pain away.
Three more days of dreaming of finding 221B Baker Street in London, of holding a baby in El Salvador, of walking through the corn fields of Honduras, of teaching little Italian children to say “how are you?” in my language, of meetings where I am dressed in a slick skirt and suitcoat and walking through big city streets decked in Christmas lights.
Three more days until I am back home, and there is little time to reflect and remember….as the magnetism of the new year draws me away from the abstract into the sights of brick buildings and the taste of sugar-free peppermint coffees and the feel of black boots hitting the sidewalk that are the fabric of now.