The morning bustle at the coffee shop eases to a slower pace: the moms are off to the rest of their days of caretaking, transporting, meal preparation, and emotional labor. A college student or two linger to take advantage of the free wifi, but for the most part, this is the hour Kassandra can catch up and prepare for the next rush at lunch.
She makes sure the food cases are full again, adding wraps and flatbreads; cleans the grinder; and runs hot water through the espresso machine. She’s done these tasks so many times it is like a meditation practice, quieting her mind to listen to her deeper self.
Falling is great, Jeeves had said before she left. Don’t be afraid of it. Kassandra tunes in to the feelings of fearlessness her art brings. Blowtorches and soldering irons and metal paints never scared her. She’s scratched and burned herself more than once without being the least daunted, always ready to try again (with better gloves and full eye protection).
So why would a little thing like love be so terrifying? She laughs out loud at her own question, raising looks from the college students. One smiles back, recognizing the human bond of laughter. The other student returns her attention quickly to the screens that hold her rapt.
Kassandra recalls her teenage days with Sasha, her friend who also fell in love with David. It went badly for Sasha for a long time, but they came together, finally, and Penny is the beautiful result. Kassandra sees Sasha as a teen, young and lovely, tan from the summer sun, running into the lake where they spent summer vacations, laughing, splashing Kassandra as they moved together into the water.
Love is a blowtorch. Aim it correctly, use it mindfully, it creates something beautiful. Lose your concentration and it becomes a weapon of accidental violence.