The Starbucks by the Bart that I chill at sometimes…

I sat there trying to read my Harukami book, but really scrolling through some Instagram pictures that my family posted of me wearing this horrendous floral pantsuit back when I thought I was hot stuff in the 90’s. PS – throw back thursdays I hate you. Anyways, I’m sitting there after work drinking a Crappuccino and thinking about how messed up my eyes are getting from just a month of being in front of a large computer at this new job. Is it that I have gotten used to my tiny laptop? I don’t know. It could be that I hardly blink when I work in the office now for fear that I may overlook something.

Anyways, I am siting there thinking about nothing in particular. Then I get a surge of inspiration from somewhere within. I think about my novel, about working on Chapter Three; the chapter that’s been haunting me for almost a year. I think about my character. I see this boy getting on and off the Bart everyday, and he wears this green army jacket and he reminds me of my main character but in male form. He’s quiet, keeps to himself, does his best not to hit anyone with his bike. I observe him a few times, and wonder what his background is? What his story is?

So anyways, I’m thinking about this as I look up at a branch about fifteen feet away from me — beyond the bar stool, beyond my brown bag, beyond the phone in my hand and beyond the tinted glass window. Dangling from the tip of it is a green-brown leaf. A leaf that doesn’t let go, but flickers in and out of existence. Frail, thin, and yet strong and resilient. The left wanting so bad to stay connected to the branches to the tree, to the roots, and to the earth. It wants to belong. More inspiration; I feel blessed in that moment. I sigh and think – now I can go back to Chapter three. I am just going to go for it. Let’s see what happens!

Just as I do a woman runs into the Starbucks screaming – “Oh Mr. please let me use your bathroom!”

“Unfortunately ma’am, we don’t have one. Um, but like, um – you can go to the hotel bathroom, um-except they want to see a receipt from us,” you could tell he was trying to remember his script.

“What can I buy, oh please hurry! I’ll buy anything!”

They make the transaction. She walks past everyone and runs towards the lobby. I was smirking at the situation, not in judgement – mostly because I’ve been in her shoes before. It sucks, but it’s comical. Just then, one of the two men beside me scream, “That girl is on a mission!”

When he says this, the woman pauses. She was a person of color, and he was a white man. A pause. A mili-second of a pause, really, but I felt it. It felt like a hammer falling on top of my heart. A breath stolen from the beginnings of my lips, and my chest grew from inability to release or intake. Until she decided to continue to walk. The two men mumbled to each other and finally decided to part ways.

“Anyways, I have to go! My train is coming!” one said to the other and left the café.

I sat there next to a little old lady who was also reading. I held onto my phone and the memory of what the leaf, the Bart boy in the green jacket, and the world of writing had gifted me. Even that moment, strange and awkward as it was , there lies a message from somewhere. I am still deciphering it. That pause. That call out of “girl” without really knowing her, knowing she was in a desperate position, and without access to something without something. Oh the somethings in this world! The exchange in glances. The milliseconds that felt like an eternity. The breath that was stuck in front of me. What did it all mean? Hmm.

This is what happens after work, when I read novels and write mental notes while I try to admire nature at the same time.

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