free ride

On the train home, the coffee got a free ride. Sure, it was tipped over and spilled out, a meager half-napkin underneath it on the orange plastic seat, but it didn’t have to show its transfer to the fare cops. Only one brave person sat next to it. He was tall and had a leather jacket, so it was to be expected, that level of bravery, of sacrifice. He gestured grandly when people moved to sit down on the coffee: NO, his hands outstretched said, and he furrowed his brow. Protecting the people from stains is a difficult job.

I wondered if the coffee was headed all the way to the beach, or just down to the Scientology office. To the pet store?  To the dry cleaners?  There were so many possibilities for the nearly-bereft container. But I was shy, and couldn’t ask, and the man in the leather jacket would have disapproved. NO, his hands and brow would have said.

To the beach, then, I decided. The wind would lift it off the seat and kick it on down to the café so it could slip off its cardboard cozy and hang with its cousins. The fog would roll in, gently dissolving all that paper, and as the moon lifted nothing would be as difficult as before.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.