SPIKES

She worked for the railways, maybe. She’d come in wearing a reflective vest, with soot in her hair, with eyes wide and static like they’d been staring too long and too deep into dark tunnels. She’d have an orange juice, first, before anything else—a completely separate order. She’d sit on a high stool, at the ledge, at the window, nose pressed nearly to the glass. Whenever the milk frother was left in too long, whenever steam escaped from the coffee machine with a metallic hiss, her shoulders would hunch and she would begin to shake. We all wondered what it was she’d seen, what memories flashed through her mind.

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