Another early morning. Frost on the cars and thick fog blankets the streets. We are surprisingly efficient this morning. We head down into town for a quality cup of coffee. The kind where the baristas weigh the grounds before pouring a shot. And for a monday morning, its pretty hoppin’.
I watch the main barista, the image of a PNW hippie, with his wool sweater and dark beanie. He bounces around behind the counter taking orders and shmearing bagles. He smiles the whole time. How wonderful to have so much pride and love for your job.
Aside from the two baristas and myself, I realize everyone else is twice my age. A sea of grey and white hair, sipping coffees and chewing bagles. Some of them stare deeply into their phones, others engage in gossipy conversation. Everyone seems local, familiar with the barista named Patty. Its cold out, and they all wear their name label puff jackets and thick raincoats. You’d rarely see anything less up here. My own no-name, black cotton button up is tucked under the table. Its loud, and echoy in there, the sound of the music long drowned out. A phone rings loudly, and I watch as men feel their pockets, some lift their phones off the table to check them, women dig in their purses, or hold them closer to their ears, only to put them back when they realize if wasn’t theirs.
The barista still bounces around behind the counter. The steady stream of people coming in doesn’t slow. We eventually finish our own cups, and abandon our seats for the cold outside. The fog is beginning to thin, and the sun is coming out.
We slept in.. I woke to silence in the house, save for my mother’s deep breathing down the hall. There was no 60’s music and espresso steaming from below. I rolled out of bed and padded downstairs to let my fur sister outside. I found the decaf coffee and pulled out the espresso machine from under the cupboards to start a cup for my mother..
When I finally hopped into the shower, I began reflecting on the fact that everything happened 8 years ago. People fell in love. People moved. Cats were adopted. Lives changed. Eight years ago, I chose to go Right instead of Left. I dropped out of college and moved to a town where I knew all of 3 people. And I’ve been here ever since. This town where I felt aching love for the first time, where I lost my virginity, and where I felt soul crushing heart break for the first time. This town where I got my first job caregiving. Where I smoked a joint for the first time, and was fired from a job for the first time. This town where I made some of the greatest friends, and lost some even greater ones. This town I found a life in. I worked my way from low paying caregiver, up to certified CNA2 in the local hospital. I started out living in a house with 4 other girls, to soundly living by myself. I started out afraid of being alone, to discovering I’m strong enough to be alone..
This town sucked me into its miasma, and I lost myself. I wonder how my life might have been different had I chosen to go Left instead of Right. Had I not chosen the more romantic and edgy option. Where would I be right now?
Mom and I drive for 45 minutes to get dockside. The fishing boat bobs up and down as she buys boxes of fish. The sun is out, but the chill still bites my nose..
I think about leaving. About packing up and getting out of dodge. Leaving the perfectly sized apartment I found. Leaving the perfectly suited job I have. Leaving the ones who make me feel seen. The intern who asked why the Rose Fire seemed dimmer than normal. The co-worker who caught sight of me yawn and stretch, and blush slightly when he said it might have been the most adorable thing he’d seen. The friend who frantically worried about me when I accidentally slept in til 4pm and hadn’t heard from me. The baristas who know my coffee order as “what Rose gets.” The doctor who routinely encourages me to further my career. The friends who continually tell me to write. And the friends who tell me that my absence would be felt if I left..
I think about it..
I lay on the couch, fur sister under foot, Thumbs at my shoulder. Mother is finishing laundry, and making soup. We are getting by. Tomorrow we will probably sleep in again.