June Flash Fiction: The Coffee Line by Brittany Ackerman

The Coffee Line

Brittany Ackerman

The beach is out west here.  The sand stretches farther than most are willing to walk.  There are made-up handshakes and signs that signal, “I need more time.”  Folded arms above the head mean, “I’m okay.”  People wait in line for coffee, and I watch them order.  Someone needs to watch them.  Shoulder bags, sunglasses, cigarettes.  Kids scratching at the back of their necks.  I try my best not to have a point of view.  I let the hour slide into the rest of the day, like her hair that changes color from top to bottom: it fades from black to red to light blonde.  Someone says they don’t know; they don’t know what they want.  It holds up the line, and people peek from left to right around arms to see what the trouble is.  I want to help, but I must sit here and monitor the function of the line.  The manager passes me a perfunctory wave.  It reverberates like sound, and I’m the only one who sees.  Everyone is caught up in movements.  Sometimes they’re in button downs and belted pants.  Sometimes they wear day suits and walk quickly from sidewalk to sidewalk.  Sometimes I can predict their futures.

Brittany Ackerman is a current MFA candidate in creative nonfiction at Florida Atlantic University.