Vignette (1)

It’s 7:34 and the bus is making good time. My shift starts in an hour, and this little village is just beginning to wake up to the morning slog. You wouldn’t expect to find a village-style place in the midst of a city, but it is here.

Red light. First one in at least ten minutes, it’s not too bad. Even at twenty minutes away I’ll still be on time for a coffee at the little corner shop.

There’s a bakery-cafe here, though I think calling it a cafe is a bit generous. There’s two little round tables, the wiry type from the looks of them parked right in front of the windows, and four skinny chairs. I don’t think you could fit more than seven people in the room before it began to get crowded and uncomfortable. It’d certainly make moving from the tables difficult.

I can almost see the food from here. I’m on the top of a double-decker, so I only get a few vague impressions of what is where, and I’m already mentally cataloguing the food and guessing at their pricing. That case is probably pies and hot food; beside it, sweets and pastries and then sandwiches. The cash register is wedged into a little pocket of space, just wide enough to place down a bag.

Two people thread through the shop, staying long enough to make their purchases. Looking at the backs of their heads, they dip into bags of pockets and pay. The woman leaving first carries her coffee, swinging a bag off her wrist and balancing her phone in the manner of someone who never removed it from their grasp to begin. After her, trail a few younger girls, piling into a car with brown-bagged food and condensation-coated bottles.

The cabinet barely looks diminished, and the light flips to green. The spell is broken – the moment is gone – as the bus pulls away.

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