I’m not sure you’re called a barista. I mean, it’s not Starbucks or some fancy cafe…it’s just Dunkin’ Donuts.
You’ve seen me through a lot.
Through the drive thru window, you hand me whatever caffeinated concoction I need that day, but what you don’t know is you’re handing me a moment to recharge.
You’ve smiled and handed me the french vanilla iced coffee that would give me enough pep to make the one hour round trip to college, and through the three hour night class, and the one hour drive home.
You’ve distractedly rushed me off with my hot french vanilla coffee. Maybe you were frazzled because it was the morning rush, but I was grateful for that, because I was in my pajamas, my hair a mess, hoping no one would notice how exhausted I was.
You’ve tossed a few free munchkins in a bag and waved to the two kids jammed in the back of our little car with the empty infant seat. You made their day, I had just finished telling them I didn’t have enough money to buy munchkins.
With a deep breath, I thank you for my iced latte, I’ve moved on to stronger beverages now that there are three little boys. You can hear the baby screaming in the back seat and wish me good luck.
You peak into the back of the minivan, knowing if the music is loud, I must not have any kids with me. You ask where they are. Just at home, I say, I needed a minute alone. You nod as you stir the iced latte that will calm my frayed nerves with the first sip.
You remind me to order my husband’s drink if I’m there in the evening. I didn’t forget, I say, I just…okay, I forgot. You throw some extra whip on top for him and laugh.
I’ve paid for coffee completely in change, and you don’t question it, even though I’m embarrassed that it’s come to this.
You recognized my van by the stickers I forget are on the back, said you saw it in a parking lot somewhere, making me realize you’re not just a person on the other side of a window. I leave a five in your tip jar.
My frequent stops for coffee aren’t always just because I need caffeine. Sometimes I pull up to the drive thru without realizing it. Other times, I’ve just had a day that calls for the comfort only an iced coffee can give, bringing with it memories of a simpler times. Then there are days that are great, that I want to celebrate with donuts for the kids and creamy, icy beverages for the adults, all to be enjoyed on the back porch.
It doesn’t matter when or why I’m there, you don’t ask, you don’t judge. You just hand me my coffee. And sometimes, that’s all I need to find what I’m looking for.