things I like in a coffee shop

First of all, cappuccinos should only come in one size. And, the person behind the counter should know what you’re talking about if you ask for it “dry” or “wet.” There should be a cup and saucer.

The door should squeak a little and be fussy in one way or another. A little too hard to pull or doesn’t latch quite right. The floor boards should be worn. And, that is to say, there must be floor boards.

I like the woman behind the counter who calls me “honey,” sometimes “doll.” This isn’t required, but it’s nice.

Even though I don’t want to talk to anyone (besides the barista who calls me “doll”), there should be conversation. Old men, or old stories, or new friends, or new drama. I like the conversations that refer to time spent in prison, big trucks with big engines, past loves. Conversations in coffee shops should be conversations only had in coffee shops, about the time you spent in prison, that past love, that big engine—those things you don’t talk about with your spouse at home, the only other woman who calls you “honey.”

In this coffee shop, some people do not have tattoos, but they aren’t judged.

There are two tip jars, each labeled with the answer for a question that day. Given the one labeled “Victoria’s Secret Models” and the other associated with the baristas at this local shop, I put my extra change into the latter, helping to fund more tattoos, I suppose. The other jar is mostly empty. The women behind the counter don’t pay it any attention as they tap espresso in the sturdy metal tool and a hiss reverberates, in good time with the whine of the door, old men’s conversations suppling the bass line underneath it all. I sip my cappuccino from a ceramic cup.

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