On the day everyone set their clocks ahead, to “spring forward,” Kassandra woke early and sprang out of bed. One gift of youth is that the change in time is absorbed quickly, with very little lingering resentment in the body.
Sundays were typically her days to work in the studio that Douglas had set up for her, but this morning she’d offered to fill in for a coworker at the coffee shop. The coworker volunteered at the cold weather shelter, staying overnight at the church which opened its doors to anyone who needed a warm place to sleep, no questions asked. Kassandra had done this once or twice herself, and knew what it was like to try to adjust after having virtually no sleep. So she was happy to step in and let her coworker go home and rest.
Plus, it gave her a chance to see some of her regulars one more time. Kassandra loved the few moments she got to connect with each customer while she took their orders, made their drinks, corralled their sweet treats, and tidied up the tables. Regular or stranger, Kassandra felt each person brought something special to her day, each interaction created an opportunity to make their day a bit better.
This spring-forward Sunday, she was delighted to see Allison walk through the door. Kassandra greeted her friend heartily, and offered her usual dose of caffeine. “Ready to go to work at your store, Allison, and keep this community in printer paper and art supplies?” Kassandra smiled.
“I wish,” Allison answered. Kassandra noted the flatness of her friend’s voice, and trouble that lurked behind her eyes.
“Why, what’s up?” Kassandra asked.
“It’s my mom,” Allison said, taking the first sip from her mug of steaming, strong espresso. “She needs surgery, and my dad’s still not well enough to care for her. So I’ve got to go stay with her for a while.”
Kassandra imagined this situation in her own life: having to give up, even temporarily, all the routines she’d built to care for the mother who was never truly satisfied with Kassandra’s choices anyway. It made her stomach ache a little.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said genuinely. “I hope your mom will be okay.”
“Me too,” Allison said. Her expression was so bleak, Kassandra pulled a cinnamon roll from her pastry case and put it on a plate.
“Here, it’s on the house,” Kassandra said, and was rewarded with a brief smile from her friend.