Peace and quiet. That was all he’d ever asked for. A simple man with simple needs. That was all he ever was.
The quiet shift of a nighttime security guard suited him. Low in its requirements and its expectations. Few interactions with clients, site workers, and customers. That was for the day shift to worry about.
But the mornings – that was [i his] time. Those wee hours after he had clocked out, gotten into his car, and driven himself away from his obligations. Into the soft, sweet scent of coffee beans, late college papers, and awkward first dates. The lights in the building forced him to shield his eyes – just for a moment. The cashier, when he had first started this job, used to stifle a laugh when he would come in looking like the dead and asking for the strongest coffee they had. Those bags under his eyes was a reassuring sign to the barista. Mr. Uehara was still employed. And it could only be said as such because he looked so goddamn tired.
“Venti blonde caramel macchiato, two extra shots, with soy milk. Please.” Every morning he asked, as though they would forget he was a regular, or forget that regular order. As steady as his boring job – but far more satisfying. The same old seat in the window, peering through the lightly tinted glass at the day walkers, who couldn’t bother to peel their eyes from their phones. Dressed in nice business suits. Women in heels and men in polished dress shoes. Nobody could fault them for the “grind,” but wouldn’t it be better to have a job where they removed the choice of dress for you?
Regardless of the weather, Uehara grips the lapel of his peacoat. It is spring, but the mornings are still bitter cold, reminiscent of winter. Especially so [i early].