Kassandra loved summer. She loved every season in the valley, and her favorite was always the one that was happening around her at the time. She stepped out of the coffee shop, waving a cheerful farewell to her coworkers, ready to enjoy a rare afternoon off on a lovely day.
A little cool, yes, and a touch windy, sure. But the sun held court in a bright azure sky, and birds sung happily as they twirled on the breezy gusts. Kassandra ducked into her apartment across the street, changed into old jeans and a t-shirt, tied a sweater around her waist, and headed out for a walk. Her favorite way to walk was to imagine flipping a coin at each corner, taking a left for heads and a right for tails. This leant a random quality to her route, despite her knowing that it was her own imagination governing the coin flips.
Left, left, right, left, and oh, the imaginary coin spun on its edge for a moment, so straight ahead. Kassandra saw the group of figures in front of her friend Allison’s house.
Could she think of Allison as a friend? She was more than a customer, definitely a regular at the coffee shop, and they’d had a few conversations about topics more personal than the weather or the latest news. Especially after Leo’s accident, when Kassandra had filled Allison in on the horrible events of that day, the two seemed to share some kind of bond.
Kassandra was the type of person who rarely needed to name or categorize other people or relationships. She felt entirely content to enjoy whoever came her way, whatever they might call themselves. Perhaps this was one reason why the coffee shop customers adored her. They felt no pressure to be anything around her other than what they needed to be in that moment. If they wanted to linger and converse, Kassandra asked them just the right questions. If they wanted to get their coffee or tea and get on with whatever came next, she handed their drinks over with only a quiet smile.
That quality helped Kassandra walk right up to the group clustered on the street, smiling broadly, ready to greet them all in whatever way they needed to be greeted: wave and walk on, or stop and help.
Except for David, who Kassandra could not read. When she spotted him, caught his eye as he looked at her over his father’s shoulder, Kassandra stopped, and her imaginary coin fell unnoticed out of her mind.