I see him walking and watch his lungs expand. He lets out a breath and my breakfast curdles within my stomach. Even his breathing bothers me. I try and shake the bitterness from my bones, starting to ask Jesus to please, please help me, but I don't finish the prayer. I am too ashamed.
We're in the coffee shop together. He, on the customer side; me, behind the counter. He is standing in a long line of hungry, under caffeinated people, and it is early. The sun hasn't poked her head through the clouds yet. If I could choose I would run back home and crawl into my bed.
He looks at me. I try to avoid eye contact to no avail. He sees me. He holds out his mug, and for a brief naive moment, I think of it as some sort of truce or peace offering.
"Girl, give me more coffee."
I blink. He must assume I haven't heard him because he repeats himself. "Did you hear me, girl? Another coffee."
He holds out his mug and I watch my fingers reach out and take it. Perhaps I'll accidentally spill some on his arm when I hand it back.
I've served him before in this coffee shop, many times. But this "girl" thing is new. A hundred choice words fly through my head as I pour the coffee into his cup. I realize my lips are pursed in a hard line and I will them into something friendlier before I hand it back to him.
Love him. The thought comes from out of nowhere. It's quickly replaced by another. Let's go with a 'no' on that one. I couldn't love him if I tried. I wonder if it makes me a hypocrite for preaching love without doing much loving.