The hours feel long. Endless smiles for endless customers. Peppermint gum and a particular aptitude with the Numerical keyboard. Something to be proud of. Gossip with the next cashier over the party last night or customers best forgotten.
Jostin in deli is leaving, she's been told. She'll miss his smile when he comes through her till with a sandwich for lunch. She'll miss quirking her eyebrows when he offers her a ride home in his pickup truck. And saying that she'd rather walk, thank-you. She'll miss the reminder of an awkward kiss between the shelving in the back before Julie asked him out. Before he said yes.
She's drafted a cover letter. She'll make the deli position hers. It's opportunity. To learn to slice peppercorn turkey, weigh salad and hang her white apron on her own hook in the hallway. And benefits. After two years it's certainly time.
This is where she's going. But dreaming... Dreaming is what she does in the silence of home. When she gets caught in the quiet with her guitar in her lap. And on lunch breaks. Lying on the picnic table. Eyes closed, salad forgotten and sun on her face.
Winter isn't for lunchtime naps and dreams. Winter is for reheated soup in the staff room. It's icy breaks and cigarettes on the plastic chairs outside. There's nothing better then her burgundy trench with the lighter in the pocket. It's winter. She doesn't care.
Her favourite season. She forgets how to dream.
---One light fades. It fails. The string drops into darkness and a wounded socket. Just a moment, a shadow. Not even a hope. One day she'll let it go forever.