Annoyance and Exchanges

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❤️~Count the memories, not the calories~❤️

Zelah gazed at the sun rise from the windows of Kaldi's Koffee, her drink clutched tight in her hand. She had arrived at work early, which gave her time to have her coffee and prepare for another day.

She was sitting at one of the wooden tables with a book in front of her. The title of it was halfway hidden with her purse, which was sitting on top of it.

Her white chiffon shirt was impeccably clean and pressed, tucked into a black fitting skirt. She opted for a puff today because it made her forehead stand out in a cute way.

Her face was bare, and her lips moist with Chapstick. She preferred her face bare than with makeup on. It made her feel more alive.

Especially when I feel dead inside half of the time.

She had on sunglasses to hide the bags under her eyes, the evidence of not sleeping for three days.

She sighed and her fingers turned the book over and her eyes squinted at the seemingly merging words.

It could be the glasses or it could be that the book wasn't distracting her anymore.

But one thing was certain. She was thinking about it again.

Her mind churned with thoughts and feelings about her past. Even wide awake, they haunted her, provoked her, made her feel less than she was.

But being awake was better than falling asleep and wake up screaming and crying. Screaming from the nightmares that plagued her almost every night. As long as she closed her eyes and gave herself up to the arms of sleep.

“Do it. She'll learn a lesson from this.” Her mother stood at the side of the dirty room, giving the man a hard look.

He nodded and wheeled the table with sharp, slightly rusty instruments lying on them.

Zelah's eyes widened and she strained against the straps that kept her arms and legs in place, struggling to leave the table.

“No mama, please I'm sorry! Please don't hurt us. I'll take care of her!” Tears poured from the side of her eyes as she gasped, trying to inhale more oxygen.

“Shut up! Do it, I don't have all day.”

She swallowed a cry at the phantom pain in her stomach and clutched at her shirt. The tears seeped from under her sunglasses and she quickly dabbed at them with an already soiled napkin.

Jimmy glanced over at her worriedly, not sure what to do. He had been watching her from the moment she sat down. They became friends a month ago when she came in and ordered, no demanded that he give her what she asked for.

Four cups of black coffee, no cream, no sugar.

He was reluctant at first, because only older men asked for it and it was occasional. Plus it was definitely not four cups of it. But he gave it to her but not before telling her that it was bad for her.

She just smiled and asked him to keep repeating it and maybe someday she'll act upon it.

“Zelah?” He said softly, distracting her from her thoughts.

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