Wednesday, December 21, 2005


November 28

Dear Wichita,

Patience isn't much of a virtue in a big city where people are consistently wet and drink too much coffee.

I was waiting in line for my bagel, en route to the bus stop, and there was a girl, maybe 13 or 14 ahead of me in line. Her bagel was sitting on the counter, ready to go. She was digging through her purse, looking for money. The search became more frantic and soon it was obvious to all of us in line behind her that she didn't have enough money.

She wasn't street kid or nothing like that. She looked middle class, probably just spent one too many dollars on the latest fad sweeping through her junior high. Her face was growing red with embarassment. The man behind the counter, sporting a thick black moustache better suited to a bad 70s sitcom than modern day life, watched the girl with a dark look of humour.

"C'mon honey, pay up. People are waiting."

"I know, I know," she stammered. Her voice sounded little, a glimpse of the fragility of youth.

I could hear people muttering behind me.

She kept digging.

The mouth under the moustache frowned. "Next!" he yelled, startling the girl, who dropped her purse, its contents spilling out onto the floor. Someone snickered.

I was next. "What will it be?"

I just put a five dollar bill on the counter, took the girls bagel and handed it to her. Her eyes were watery.

"Thanks," she mumbled, eyes falling to the floor.

"Don't mention it."




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