I hung out the washing and set a dozen appliances to clean. I wiped the benches and sorted the pile of papers.
While I did those things I felt tentatively optimistic. I felt that I could continue to do them indefinitely.
The mistake was looking down in the first place.
I keep thinking about the woman in the cafe.
It must've been a Sunday. I was rostered to work the till. It was hot but I wore black tights because I never got my shit together in time to shave my legs.
The line was long and customers kept ordering coffee, we had ice cream and plenty of cool drinks but all they wanted was coffee... coffee, coffee, coffee.
The barrister was shitty, which was nothing new, I moved in a swirl of smiles and pleasantries, handing over change and writing down orders.
Hours ticked by and the line got shorter, the barrister took her lunch break, my feet itched from poor circulation.
A customer approached the counter, she could've been anyone's mother or aunt, aged, large around the middle, short manageable hair. She asked me which flavour milkshakes we could make and settled on vanilla, she ordered a coffee and a biscuit. She chatted while I put her order through the glorified calculator. She told me that the biscuit was for her daughter "she hasn't been eating" she said.
At the furthest corner of the cafe I saw a younger, paler, sickly version of the woman. Her daughter sat with her whole weight collapsed in the chair, staring through space and time, hung up on something, somewhere else.
She was dressed in a woolly jumper and her hair was a wilderness of dark curls.
"She's not well" the woman said.
For a moment my world became in-congruent.
I could hear my mothers voice giving the same explanation.
I wanted to give her something, something that would show her I understood.
I had little, little but my hospitality and a promise I couldn't keep, "it will get better" I told her.
I don't know if she got better.
Hope comes at great personal risk.
But I am daring.