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April 12th, 2020
Lucilius was in line waiting to get a cup of coffee when he witnessed a truly unfortunate person. At the front of a line was a beautiful woman, dressed in fine clothes, sporting an impeccable face of paint and cursed for the moment with the most disgusted of facial expressions.
“This is bullshit,” the woman said. “I come everyday, how do you not keep it in stock? You know I’m going to be here. Why aren’t these things prepared in advance?”
The woman was clearly upset and making the girl behind the cash register very nervous.
Lucilius watched the disgruntled woman move off to wait for her flawed order, and Lucilius moved up towards the cashier.
“You ok?” Lucilius asked quietly.
The barista, shook her head slightly, her eyes closed, and then smiled. “Yep, what can I get for you? Usual?”
“Dark and bitter, just like my childhood.”
The barista laughed, just as she always did. Lucilius paid, and then joined the disgruntled woman.
“What are they out?” he asked.
The woman looked at Lucilius, seeing his perfect, gleaming shoes, tracing the cut of his suit all the way up to his face where he smiled gently.
“Uh,” the woman hesitated. “Yea, caramel cream. It’s my favorite.”
“I like to think heaven is a place where we can have our favorite things all the time without getting tired of them.”
“Why’s that?” The woman asked.
“Well here, on this world, I have to go without my favorite things to really appreciate them. Otherwise they lose their edge.”
“I always have my favorite, whatever it is. Never pass up the opportunity. You only life once, you know?”
Lucilius nodded. “Also not a bad philosophy. Wish I could follow it.”
The woman smiled, grabbing her order. She looked at her phone. “Guess, I have a few minutes to relax here,” she said, then smiled broadly at Lucilius before finding herself a seat.
Lucilius pondered a moment and then walked out of the coffee shop, and down a few storefronts where there was a small grocer. He went right to the cooler section and found a bottle of coffee sweetener labelled with a caramel flavor. He bought it and went back to the coffee shop, and went up to the barista manning the cash register.
“Here, you mind remaking that woman’s drink with this, just tell her you found some. I’ll pay for it and you guys can keep this for any other orders.”
The barista gave him a funny look and a smile. “Cool,” she said.
Lucilius took his black coffee and went and sat down. He took a slim little book from his blazer pocket and opened to a dog-eared page and began reading.
Some time later, he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to find the woman who’d been so angry with her order.
“That was very sweet of you,” she said.
“I saw you go get that creamer.”
“Oh, well, you’re most welcome, but I didn’t do it for you.”
The woman was confused and taken aback. “Sorry?” she prompted.
“I got that creamer for the barista,” Lucilius said, nodding in the direction of the espresso maker where the girl was. “Wanted to make sure no one else would give her shit for not having it for at least the rest of the day. See, I’m willing to bet it wasn’t her fault in the first place, but even if it was…”
Lucilius shrugged. “I guess you really shouldn’t depend on strangers for forgiving others.”
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