I don’t know if this person is the most interesting one I’ve met this year, but she’s the first one that came to mind that made me smile, so she wins.
I stumbled into the coffeshop on a gray afternoon, newly printed gift certificate in hand. It’s a place I used to frequent everyday, now I only go every one and while, for the sake of my waistline and wallet. I go when I think I deserve a special treat, or, like today, when I earn a gift card. To say I’m not in a good mood would be an understatement. The peppy pop-rock music playing through the speakers does nothing to change that. I’m under a ton of pressure at work and at home, praying that a jolt of caffeine and chocolate under an shameful amount of whipped cream will somehow turn my day in the right direction. A customer exiting the building smiles at me and I grumble, making my way to the front counter. Then I see her, a girl about half my age, behind the register, waving her arms in the air and dancing with her eyes closed, not a care in the world. Her hair is long and dark and sways with her as she moves. She’s so lost in the music she doesn’t notice me, standing there waiting. She laughs when she opens her eyes, and I can’t help but do the same. Her smile is infectious. I normally hate that expression, but it’s true. She’s corrupted me with her happiness. I try to remember what it was like, to be so young and beautiful and happy, so uninhibited. Was I ever that way? Maybe there was a brief year or two after high school, before ADULTHOOD came knocking and ruined everything.
I give her my order as we both still chuckle. As I wait for my drink I start to sing along to the song playing, the one that I hated just a minute ago. Once my drink is ready we both sing, louder now, as the other customers look at us strangely. I wave goodbye, exit the store into a new day that doesn’t seem as gray as before, dancing all the way back to my car. I don’t care who’s watching.