It's the day before Thanksgiving at Starbucks. I'm exhausted today - my coworker tells me I look it, as soon as I step through the door of our kiosk - and I'm trying to be happy to be here.
I'm standing behind the counter steaming milk, pulling espresso shots, chatting with a regular who's showing us a picture on his phone of a coffee cup from another Starbucks. "Look what the barista at this store called me," he joked. The cup is marked with what looks like "Dork," but we chuckle, because we know it really says "Dark."
"I would have expected that from our baristas here, but not somewhere else," I reply. He barely cracks a smile.
Off in the corner I hear the sound of laughter, right on cue it seems, with our attempts at humor. The sound rises, above our conversation, above the whir of machines, above the gurgle of milk frothing. I peer over the side of the kiosk, and I see him. He's sitting alone with his legs slung over the arm of one of our comfy chairs, his eyes squeezed shut and creased in the corners, his face pink, his shoulders shaking. His giggling is infectious, continuing far past our joke, and I know he didn't hear what we said. He doesn't even seem aware of our presence.
For fifteen minutes, at least, he sits in a fit of giggles. As I'm taking orders, grinding coffee, doing dishes, listening to customers, it's his soundtrack that lifts my spirits. I find myself stifling my own giggles, smiling for apparently no reason, like we're sharing a private joke. I think he might be on something, as we see a lot of those around here (though none of them are this happy). Perhaps he lives in a separate reality and this is a symptom of mental illness, or possibly, his imagination is still intact from childhood, colorful and endless. Whatever the reason for his giggling, I care not, all I know is that I wasn't smiling like this before I heard him laugh.
One of our courtesy clerks steps behind the kiosk to plug in the vacuum cleaner and stoops to whisper very seriously in my ear, "That guy over there, I think he's scaring customers."
I just smile. "Are you kidding? This guy's making my morning. How could anyone be scared by giggling?"
And sure enough, a few minutes later our store manager walks over and leans to say something to the man leaning back in his chair. A second later, he's up and disappears through the store. I'm sad to see him go, but his laughter echoes through me the remainder of the day.
Thank you, sir, for reminding me to laugh and enjoy this day, this moment, tired as I am. I have much to be thankful for.
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Linking up with Heather