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A moment to breathe is a gift. Tonight I sat outside and looked at the stars. I’ve worked all week to make up for going out of town and tonight was the first time I had a minute to stop everything and breathe.
Sitting under the stars I contemplated a lot of things in my life.
One: What am I doing here?
I live in Salt Lake. I’m going to school. I’m working, and paying my way. I’m living my life.
These all seem like generally good answers, right? But, really, what am I doing here?
I am here to learn, and grow. I am here to have experiences and make decisions on my own. I am here to not listen to anyone else. I am here to be independent and to accept what weaknesses I have, and to build them as best I can. I am here to figure out who I am inside this skin, and throughout these bones. I am here to pick which clothes I’ll buy, and which shoes I’ll wear. I am here to read, to write, and to find joy in the journey.
Two: What am I doing to get me where I want to be?
I work hard, and earn money. I’m going to school, and paying for it myself. I’m living the way I want to live.
Again, these are all good, school book answers. But, really, what am I doing?
I am taking the days one step at a time and looking for the beauty within every moment. I am smiling at the homeless people on the street and saying a little prayer in my heart for every fire truck that speeds on passed me. I am eyeing my friends closely and hoping I’ll catch them when they fall. I am taking each day for what it is. A gift. I am living each moment for myself and for those that love me. I am learning, and growing and taking care.
I think about how life works; the little greased engines within every motion. I look past the skin, and scattered pores, and I see this deep, red love that everyone seems to be searching for with an endless vigor. I. I. What is this world where I am alone in these thoughts, and visuals of purity? It is an uncommon thought for most, but what do I do for everyone else? I am a small dirty engine in this great world full of seekers, and too many empty hands. Unique and undefined within my own mind I see little of the rare, and pure. It’s as if I’m moving in an imperfect circle, and one end has this hitch. I keep getting past it, thinking I’ve accomplished something then my heart snags. I’m stuck on the uneven end and unfound again. This life is all about the focal point, the image at its sharpest. It’s about work, and effort, and pressure unfounded. I look around me again, and my eyes are a mirror.
This life seems like we are in the middle of a bridge. We cannot see what is ahead. We glance back and it is as cloudy as before us.
I like to think I’ve got heavy boots. I feel like so much has happened to me in the past, but then I look around. I see the people around me dealing with death, health, sadness abounding. I do not have the heavy boots.
Work has been slow lately. Many of my favorite people are gone.
My favorite Chuck who always got a “Chuck Special,” consisting of six shots of espresso in hot water with light ice. He liked his Americano strong. Chuck is back in Michigan. Reunited with his wife. I am sure he is overjoyed to be home with his true love.
My Brian is traveling onward. He is now in California missing the Utah springtime.
My Earl Grey Tea and a Fritter is somewhere south. Gary, he called himself, has moved on too. He would laugh with me about how desperately he needed a haircut. I miss that white washed hair, and warm smile.
The girls are all a little melancholy. Stephanie, our dear friend leaves us this week.
Come Monday Stephanie will be reunited with her husband, whom she loves with all her heart. Ashleigh and I are sad.
Leaving seems to be the trademark of my life lately. Everyone goes, and no one lingers. Sad, though it may be I am ever grateful for the happiness change brings.
Stephanie will leave, but her happiness makes the pain minute compared.
I don’t have the heavy boots. I look around and see the happiness in this world, and I am happy too.
Although life can seem like a bridge with no clear view of where we are going it is worth it.
I see the light.
I see the joy.
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.
In class this week we discussed Hamlet, whom I am madly in love? All his qualities are so crooked and mad, yet my heart swoons as I read into his deepest thoughts. Never doubt I love. What woman could ask for more? We talked about how he is considered to be insane, and I defended without doubt.
I think of life and worry. I stress and worry again–over the unimportant. Oh Hamlet, thy pain is mine indeed! I suffer as everyone does, and I learn as most should. I read and write and let the world fall black.
Work has been a burden of late. My time has been spread thin. I feel mad, as Hamlet seems to be. I overreact, under-react, and I let all the watchers down. I’ve been so stressed that I’ve lost the fun.
This is just something I’ve been dwelling on lately.
Life should be lived, not watched. Life can only breath when I do. It’s almost summertime, and I’m betting on the weather. To feel that orange heat on my skin again, to see the grass flush a warm green. I look forward to the break and the time I’ll have to do what I please. The stress pouring out my fingertips, and the nice cool navy blue sinking right back in. Kelly will be back in one piece, and time with lose its power.
When I encounter a beautiful spirit at work I leave with this feeling of hope. In all my stress and worry of late, I’ve missed out on so much hope. It reminds me of those kindred spirits of before: I miss Tall Green Tea and Smoothie Guy.
I feel like I’ve lost my breath, and I’m struggling to get it back. I feel mad. The marbles are lost, and I’m in a panic to get them back. I’m ready for that summer heat, and that cool navy blue, and that rush of freedom.
Reading over Hamlet this week gave me a second to breathe. Shakespeare’s words to sleep perchance to dream, remind me of what this life I live is all about. Take me back to the blue and keep me safe, sweet Hamlet. As mad as I am, as over reactive as I am, let me breathe–again.
Be all my sins remember’d.
I can handle it.
A good cup of tea, and some slow music sounds like perfection to me.
The first time I saw him he ordered two venti coffees with room. It was simple enough, and not usually something that would be ingrained in my memory. A construction worker of sorts, his orange vest and hard hat said, but that wasn’t what caught my attention. Across his face was the warmest smile I’ve ever seen. One of those qualities that I’ve always been strongly attracted to is smile lines. I love when the corners of your eyes wrinkle with a grin. Adorable, and attractive.
He came in day after day, his scruff growing and shrinking. I found myself looking forward to his two coffees. Stephanie would say he reminded her of a kindergartener. His smile and happy face every morning. Ashleigh referred to him as the real cute guy that always got two coffees. And me, well I called him the Smile guy.
In a busy coffee shop you create bonds with all the people that come in every day. Smile guy, and all of us baristas had become friends.
One day we had been extremely busy, and the line was all the way to the tiled lobby. I was working on register while Jen and Ashleigh were on bar. I watched as Smile guy walked into the hotel and found his place in the line. On this day he had brought another construction worker with him. It must have been the second venti coffee. I struggled to make eye contact with his smile-wrinkled eyes.
Eye contact: it means that you can come down to the end of the bar and pick up your regular, and pay later. It means a lot when a barista likes you enough to let you off without paying, or tipping for that matter. I finally acquired the attention of his heart stuttering smile. I was hooked.
Today he came in at 7:30 and got his usual. It wasn’t something that I needed, but I just wanted to put a name to the face. It was like a piece to the puzzle of this adorable man.
“Did you want a receipt?” I asked with a smile across my lips. With a shake of his head I tossed the white paper in the garbage next to me. “Can I ask what your name is?” The question bubbled to my lips, and my heart raced. My cheeks felt warm and I listened.
“Brian.” He said, “My name is Brian.”
“Hi Brian,” I said with a little spice, “I’m Kelly. It’s nice to officially meet you.” Heart throb.
As is normal I smiled and made myself scarce while he added all his sugars, and creams to the coffee, but today as he left I caught his eyes. With the wrinkles around both, he smiled and said—“Bye Kelly, I’ll see you later.”
It was nothing special to anyone else, but Kelly is my name, and he said it. Tonight I look forward to tomorrow ready to meet Brian again.
It’s been said, by someone that is more known than me that there are two people you don’t mess with in this world:
One–the guy who works on your car; this is reasonable. Any clever being would know that a mechanic can royally screw you over.
I can see it now–You go to the closest Meineke and ask for a basic tire rotation. Your BMW isn’t running up to par. Easy, right? Well now, this young mechanic tells you it’s going to be about a two hour wait. You’ve places to be. You’ve got a very important life to live. Two hours waiting on your beautiful car are two hours you can never get back. So, in reaction, you hassle the kid a little bit. No way can a basic tire rotation take two hours. The kid gives in under your all powerful arm, and agrees that it will only take about 45 minutes. Satisfied, you patiently pass the time by emailing all your important friends on your scratch-free iPhone. Soon the time has come for you to pay and drive off into the world that licks your perfectly shaped toes. You drop the fee like nothing and add a couple dollar tip just to be generous–charity act that you joke about writing off.
Next, you climb inside your fancy BMW and drive back to your life that you’re convinced has been missing you. You pull onto the Dallas North Tollway toward Plano going fast. You love the feel of your slick car beneath you. It runs oh so smooth like a boat on the water. Then, thwack, just like that same boat on the water your car loses all four tires, and suddenly, you’re skiing across the highway while that young kid is laughing from afar spending his two dollar tip on a pop.
Do not hassle the mechanic.
Wondering how this relates?
Well, the second person you never antagonize is your barista.
Just the other day I had a lady walk into the coffee shop with her young daughter. The woman I can still see clear in my mind. She had the same jaw and mouth as Hillary Swank. I recognize this because I find Hillary Swank’s features to be brutal, and harsh, so unfeminine. This woman was irritated that I could not accept her gift card.
“It’s for this coffee shop. Gah,” she scoffed. “Ridiculous.”
This is really not a big deal, but she made it the end of the world. While throwing a tantrum, her snot-faced daughter looked at me with the same Gaston-like chin and an ugly smear on her face. To further this woman’s anger, I answered her question–“Well can you toast the bagels?” with a polite–“No, Ma’am.”
She was infuriated. “This is just ridiculous! What kind of coffee shop is this?”
No toasted bagel? No gift card?
Holy Hell it’s the end of the world!
To continue her unappreciated attitude, she ranted off her “complex” order of a Grande non-fat extra hot latte. With the simple drink written, I checked her out to hear her daughter gripe about how the scone she was eating (which has the same fat content as a Big Mac) had little flavor. I let myself grin inside. The joys of making customers fat.
Onto the Hillary Swank look alike’s coffee: I walked over to my friend on bar and repeated the “complex” and oh so important drink.
Grande latte, decaf, whole milk, please?
I, too, can royally screw you over.
The conversations that take place inside the walls of a coffee shop can be random, eccentric, and incredibly personal. This morning was closer to me than normal. Due to my position as barista/ free counselor I find myself letting people talk about whatever their problems might be. It’s better to listen, and give them the feedback that they need rather than bringing my own feelings into the mix.
Today my Strawberry Smoothie friend, Lance, asked me if I was married.
We had been talking about how he tries to avoid fighting with his wife due to his experiences in his first marriage. He had gone through a nasty divorce, and was forced to give up most of his pay check for child care. As a construction worker he barely had enough to satisfy his family’s needs. Lance had been married 9 years, and had two beautiful children which he loves. His wife and he had been divorced for 10 years, and just now his former wife was taking him back to court for a higher percentage of his monthly check. Now Lance was remarried, and madly in love with his new wife. He had had two kids with her, and they were his family now. The struggles on what was ethically right, and what was morally wrong tore at him. Now he was looking at me, waiting for insightful advice on marriage.
Married. I am only 19. It seems interesting to see what image most people have of me. Yes, maturity is one of my qualities, and I do look a bit past my age, but married? I’d never thought I looked, behaved married.
Today, walking into work feeling like a 19 year old in the bouts of heartbreak I was tempted to say yes, yes I am married.
Looking at life through someone else’s eyes relieves some of the pressure from my own. I am grateful for my job. It pays well, and accommodates school, and my personal needs. I am grateful for my friends. They are understanding, and love me all the way. I am grateful for my car that runs fine, and gets me from point A to point B. I am grateful that the heartache that I sometimes feel can’t be compared to a war in the divorce courts over money.
Today I am grateful I am young, and I am alive.
Pour milk. Pump syrup. Steam milk. Que shots. Pour milk. Add toppings. Lid. Repeat.
This day was semi busy. I was on bar making drinks while Ashleigh took orders. I heard comment after comment; can that be extra hot? With whip cream, please? As it was busy, I didn’t take the time to look up. I heard a voice directed at me.
“Is this the venti latte?” Naturally I said, “yeah it is.” He then said thank you and stated that the next drink was his as well. I looked up this time.
Hello sexy man in yellow.
Construction workers were normal customers, but this one I had never seen before. Caramel apple spice? I asked with a shy smile. He smiled back. “Yeah, that’s me. Its my guilty pleasure,” he said. With a giggle I couldn’t suppress, I told him it was my favorite too. “Something about it is extremely comforting,” I said. He agreed with that same sideways smile. “Well thank you.” “You’re welcome.” Blushing, I asked him to come in again. “Will do,” he tossed back with a rugged smile.
Caramel apple spice. The drink of the day.