Kindness in the Coffee Shop
I groaned into my pillow and placed one shining hoof over my left eye. But the alarm on my clock was persistent. Opening one light pink eye, I glared at the alarm clock with distaste. Six in the morning on a July day, and I had to go to work. Rolling over, slapping the ‘off’ button on the clock, I finally got to my hooves, and went into the bathroom my mother and three sisters shared. It was like the ones at school, each with our own individual toilet and sink (we shared the same shower).
Looking at myself in the mirror, I groaned again. Five foot nine. Not bad for a sixteen year old teenager. Hair? Waist-length, golden, fine, all over the place. Antlers? Short, black, sharp. Eyes? Light pink, tired-looking. Dress? An old white T-shirt and grey sweat pants. Species? Green Ixi.
Tugging the green brush through my gnarled hair, polishing my hooves and antlers (for good measure), brushing my ivory teeth, slapping some makeup on, and dressing in my silver and blue uniform, I slung a lunch bag over my shoulder, and without waking my mother or sisters, trudged out into the early morning commute (and without breakfast, I remembered. It was gonna be a long day).
Name’s Ixia Isabel McCase. Like I said, sixteen, golden hair, light pink eyes, Green Ixi. And wearing a silver satin skirt with a blue tank top, silver windbreaker over that for work. Walking through our suburban neighborhood, into the business of Neopia Central, I headed over to the coffee shop. Walking through the door, I gritted my teeth as that familiar bell chimed, announcing my arrival. Only a few workers were there – Samuel, the Starry Scorchio, Alyssa, the Shadow Gelert, and Brian, the White Eyrie – so early in the morning. They were also in some of my classes at school.
“Mornin’,” they greeted me in a monotone chorus, fumbling around the counter. I gave a grunt in reply. Slapping on my gold cap, I headed to the pick-up window, glancing wearily at the forming black clouds.
“Great,” I said in distaste, wanting to go back to sleep right on the windowsill.
All day, I hung my head out of the window, rain dripping off the brim of my cap, into my eyes while taking the orders of bossy Neopets while they sat in their temperature-controlled hover-cars that Virtupets had just released (I was dying to get my hooves on one, I had my eye on a hunter green one back in the lot), with their kids watching holographic Neovision and playing their little game sets in the back. And I was hanging my head out in the rain getting yelled at. One particularly rough-looking Blue Shoyru complained that I didn’t put enough chocolate in his Dung Coffee. I took it back, put more chocolate in it, returned to the window, and almost flung it at him.
Finally, it was lunch break. Sitting (or more like collapsing) at my favorite green and white table, I lifted my hot dog to my lips, but paused. A male Draik came in; his glasses fogged over his ice-blue eyes, and dressed in a brown trench coat, his large wings drooping. I would have moved away if I hadn’t known him.
“Mr. Katashi?” I asked, setting down my hot dog. He gave a weak smile and sat down next to me, rubbing his forehead with his claws, his large ears drooping. Mr. Katashi is my writing teacher (from Shenkuu) in my school, NeoHigh.
“Hello, Miss Ixia,” he murmured, looking up at me and smiling weakly again. He looked even more beat than I was.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him. Mr. Katashi was one of my favorite teachers – nice, caring, and fun every day. He even had a Purple Draik wife and a cute Blue Krawk daughter.
“Oh, it’s been hectic. The Pant Devil stole my keys – it took an hour to get it back from him. My hover-car had a broken gravitational energy band, so I had to walk here, and I realized I had given my umbrella to my wife while she drove Yin to tennis practice,” Mr. Katashi explained, still rubbing his head and cleaning his circular glasses on his trench coat. I’ve never seen the chipper Draik so down, and it sort of frightened me.
“I’m sorry,” I said, feeling sympathetic towards my teacher. It made my heart feel congested to see this poor Draik in such a poor mood.
“Nothing you need to worry about, dear,” he said, smiling weakly, his eyes still dead-looking. He was depressed, and still trying to be nice to me. I nodded, and then a thought hit me. I smiled to myself. Perfect. It was perfect.
“Stay here,” I instructed him, although he didn’t look like he was going anywhere anytime soon, his head on one fist, staring blindly out into the street. I got up, re-packed my uneaten lunch, and headed to the back. Ten minutes later, I handed him the usual coffee he ordered (Marshmallow Roast Coffee) when he came here, and a white paper bag. He looked questioningly up at me, but I nodded encouragingly.
“Open it,” I added for emphasis. He did, and inside was his favorite kind of doughnut. (It was a Pomegranate Doughnut, my favorite as well.) He looked up at me with a surprised look, his blue eyes alit again, his wings and ears up.
“It’s on me,” I said, winking, and going back to my duty at the window, bidding him goodbye. I felt better after that.
Unfortunately, the next day was rainier than the last. I hung my sopping wet head out of the window, my fur and hair dripping, really down-beat, taking order after order to fulfill, and then Mr. Katashi drove up in his fixed hover-car. Instead of ordering a Marshmallow Roast Coffee, like he usually did, he handed me a single pink rose – the same shade as my eyes – and drove off, smiling and waving. I stared after him, surprised. Pulling my head back in the window, I surveyed the flower. Attached to the rose was a card. I opened it.
Not only are you a pleasure to have in my classroom, you’re also a wonderful, beautiful Neopet as well. Just when I needed some light, you handed it to me. And for that, I give you my greatest thanks. I hope to see you this coming fall! You’re an excellent writer.
Mr. Shang Katashi
Inside the card was also a small bag with four hundred Neopoints in it.
For the rest of the day, even when a burly Halloween Mynci threatened me with death by brandishing his scythe in my face if I didn’t get him the right type of doughnut, I didn’t feel gloomy or over-worked. I just thought back to the card (and Neopoints) and smiled to myself. Looks like, as Mr. Katashi said it, I did give him some light.
But I also got some in return. Oh! By the way, I am very much looking forward to returning to his classroom this fall.
Thanks to shelbyann131711 (and my mom) for the inspiration! Please comment! I never get mail. :(