Number One

I need a coffee. I ask one of the airport representatives or guest relations managers or customer care specialists or what-have-you where the nearest place for a cup is. She points to the McDonalds and I cringe. I also cringe as I type this and there is no red squiggly line under the name – McDonalds is programmed into my computer’s memory whereas snarky, dispopulate and cragmeyer elicit error messages – and yet I slide into line behind a mass of people that are channeling toward four registers and this caffeine headache, acid aching, is beginning to go whir-whir and is urging me to choose which worker I think can differentiate the buttons with a cartooned photo of a cow, a chicken, a potato, and rationalize which button produces which edible. I then
remember that I am only ordering coffee and wonder how that would be depicted and I settle on an outline of Columbia only to realize that I am giving far too much credit to the register’s operator to deduce that coffee is the blow state’s largest legal export and then wonder if it could be a button with a brown “C” and realize how easily that would be confused with Coke. I do not have a chance to conclude before the girl in the third register is yelling for “Next in line!” even though I am eight inches from her counter. I am obviously next. And yet, she looks past me, cloudy and unfocused. I order and she punches and I pay and she delivers and I sip. It tastes like beef broth.

Amy Holwerda was born in town full of people who told her that she was speaking too loudly. She is always moving away and quickly returning to Michigan’s Rapids that are Grand seeking the life of a gypsy but realizing that she is poor. She lives with crippling irrational fears of squirrels, cubicles, and the sun [under which she melts,] but knows that if it’s not her skin that kills her, it will be her liver or lungs. She loves all activities that involve speaking about herself, exaggerating, and one-upping others’ stories. She hates people who scuff their feet when walking, sobriety, and when the manicurist clips her cuticles too short.