01 | Emerson

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The lady working at the counter was flustered

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The lady working at the counter was flustered.

Her sparse eyebrows were knitted together in intense concentration, despite the fact she wasn't focusing on one task for too long. Her chest rose and fell as she mumbled incoherent rambles to herself, and her loose beige cardigan slipped off her shoulder every other moment. I almost felt the need to reach out and pull it higher upwards, so she wouldn't have had to yank it up a few centimeters only for it to fall down again.

I arrived one hour ago, yet there I was finally at the counter, the ticket with my number in line folded into a sailboat from boredom in my hand, and yet I still had to wait even more.

"Ma'am, I understand you may be going through a tough time of some sort, but I have everything I need to make this go as quickly as possible," I told her, placing my hand over the folder I placed on her desk. I was meticulous when it came to remembering to bring things, and in that folder was exactly what I needed to be able to make an ID.

She looked up at me at first with stone-cold grey eyes, but her expression softened once she noticed the warm, inviting smile on my face. Adjusting the cardigan on her shoulder once again, she took the form and identification I slipped across the counter and typed the information onto her old-fashioned keyboard, less angrily now.

The two people behind me, graying men in Washington Redskins sweatshirts, squeezed past me, and I was forced to move to the right side of the counter. And from that angle I could finally get a full view of this lady.

Her left hand was devoid of a ring, but when I peered slightly closer, I could make out a distinct tan line on her ring finger. However long she wore that ring wasn't possible to know to an outsider, but it was long enough to form a tan line from the hot summer sun, and taken off recently enough for that tan line to not have blended in with her natural skin tone again. A recent divorce could explain her flustered and detached temperament. The nearly thirty-ounce coffee cup inches from her reach could be a substitute for lack of sleep, most likely caused by the stress of a divorce.

"It looks like everything is completed," she informed me, once I handed over the rest of the information required to finally justify why I spent nearly an hour and a half of my life I could never get back here. "Sue, at counter five, should get your picture set."

The trip back to my house wasn't much of a walk. Yet somehow as I ambled under the beating sun, I passed by two people from my school. Wasn't it a thing that whenever you put effort into your appearance, you were lucky to pass by a familiar squirrel, yet when you wore your baggiest sweatpants and an oldest sweatshirt, the exact guy you're embarrassingly attracted to just pops up in your face?

I was happy I was at least sans the sweatshirt-sweatpants look, yet just then, two of my least favorite girls that went to my high school passed by me. Neve and Haley were the heads of the popular crowd and had a specific talent for talking about people behind their backs, especially Neve.

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