Life is about the little things. About the little quirks that make a place home or make a person family. About the little details that distinguish him from her and that from this. God that was cheesy.
I jolt awake to Taylor Swift’s I Know Places, a song I used to love, but is now ruined since it received the job of waking me up. I open my eyes and stare at the ceiling, little light patterns dancing as my eyes focus. I let out a long moan.
“I, I, I, I,” sings Taylor.
I roll over onto my stomach and reach for my phone. I fumble with the charging cord and naturally pull the charger out of my phone causing it to fall with a loud thump to the floor.
I moan again.
I heave myself up and fling my hand to my phone. God, you’re over dramatic I think to myself. But that makes life interesting, I giggle. I check the time and my giggle turns into a sob. It’s freaking 6:30 in the morning.
I turn on the light next to my bed and stare at my wall. After ten seconds, I throw my blankets off the bed and then right back on me. It’s freezing. You got this, Lola. I quickly throw the sheets off again and leap out of bed. I grab my sweatpants, shrink out of my shorts, and jump into the sweats. I grab my iconic Chimney Corners sweater and throw it on. I slip on my unicorn socks (don’t judge) and grab the crumpled three dollars I laid out the night before.
“I, I, I, I,” Taylor Swift sings again.
“S***” I whisper, realizing I never turned my alarm off. I stab the STOP button on my phone and shove it into my hoodie pocket.
I walk out of my room into the dark hallway. I look into my parents’ bedroom, my mom still fast asleep. I look the other way and see the glow of the kitchen light - my dad must have left for the gym. I walk to the door and slip on my Stan Smiths (I know, I’m basic). I grab my keys with the oreo cookie covers and tiptoe out, closing the door softly behind me.
I plop down the stairs, each step heavy, as if I’m a giant. Halfway down, I high five the staircase ceiling as it juts down, a childhood habit. I swing open the two doors and walk out into the morning.
The street is foggy and the lighting is still blue, as it is every morning. I take a deep breath and begin my process of waking up. The air smells crisp and fresh, the smell of morning. I begin my walk down the block, hands in pocket, cheeks stinging from the morning chill. I take another deep breath and the cold air fills my lungs. I grin.
I turn onto Fifth Avenue and walk with a skip in my step. I love the morning. It’s still dusk and there’s nobody outside except for the occasional high schooler making a long commute to school or the rushed businessman or woman. The morning shows New York City in a different light - it shows the city’s peaceful side, one that ignores its usual chaos.
I reach my long awaited and daily destination: The Bagel Place.
I pull open the door and walk inside. The heater blasts me in the doorway, making my hair even more of a mess. I walk to the counter and the men behind the counter turn and smile at me.
“Hola Chica, light and sweet?” One of them says, (the guy who is - in my humble opinion - the best barista in Park Slope).
“Yep,” I grin.
I walk up to the counter as he places the coffee down. I pull out the dollar bills. I try to hand them to him.
“No, don’t worry about it, it’s on me,” he says.
What? Is he serious. “Really?” My voice squeaks. Oh my god, I’m so awkward.
“Yeah,” he smiles.
He slides the coffee towards me and I take it. I grin. “Thank you!” I laugh.
As I wait to cross the street, I take a sip of coffee. Yes. The cold coffee flows down my throat and the light turns green.
Today will be “light and sweet.”
Life is about the little things - being recognized in your favorite coffee shop; small acts of kindness and above all: free coffee.