Back in the Saddle Again

There is nothing quite like being loved and being missed.

Picture Norm walking into Cheers. Imagine Ichiro at bat in Safeco field. I walk into the coffeehouse and it is all smiles, all around and I couldn’t feel more blessed. On the chalkboard above the cold drinks fridge is a message: “Number of days until Katey returns,” with a series of X’s over the days of the week.

Midway through the shift I hit my stride and my fingers start to remember all the register keys again. An old neighbor from comes in for a double espresso and I tamp the grounds like a champ. The shots come out frothy and rich, the crème a lovely hazelnut atop black-bay espresso.

I move slowly though, about half my normal speed. I can get away with this today because it is a Monday, typically slower. But it’s also about as fast as I can work. The only hard part is the tile-covered step between the back kitchen and the service counter, which I have to maneuver over at least a hundred times a shift. Fifteen minutes to closing time, and my boss walks through the door, offering to help. She washes two sinkfuls of dishes, puts the chairs up, and even mops. We close in thirty minutes, rather than the normal hour it takes me alone, and I put my feet up when we’re all through.

My, oh my, it’s good to be back!

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