closing cup in chicago

consumer whore

mine was the last cup she made, and i noticed her preoccupied expression, but chose not to ask. she won't consider it professional of me.

laura is moving back to her parents' house in indiana, to save money. "but it's all right, it's in the purdue area near the indiana university there, so it's a college town," she said. she didn't look up because she was pressing some buttons on the register. earlier she'd turned off the lights, darkness poured into the store, and officially i'd turned into a member of the crew.

i am the consistent last customer at the starbucks on madison and franklin streets, one block east from my office on wacker drive. when my schedule permits, i spend my breaks there, talking on the phone, texting, meeting a friend, but mostly, catching up with writing. laura is the only barista who won't tell me that they're already closed and i have to up and leave now.

"we're already closed, but you can stay as long as you like, just please exit through the side door, over there," she said, in her own soft way.

she gave me a crew pin, ahaha - crew have to earn that pin with the most sales or praises from customers. she just rummaged around the back and gave me one because i asked if they sold any similar. i'm a wierdo like that.

"i'm moving back, just to save money, and then i have to move out because i hate indiana," she said, barely perceptible.

moving back to your parents after you've moved out is one of those acute tragedies that turn the young into bitter, stunted adults, or heroes on a mission, running as fast as they can as far away from their home as they can. around here, it's downright depressing if you move back. it's like suicide if you move back into a house with parents and siblings there.

well, i told her about her being the only one who let me stay at their store for as long as i like, knowing she won't like this bit of memory. but it's one of those things you should say because it's a good memory. everyone likes to hear praises about something they devote a huge chunk of what little time they have, that is, work. baristas, particularly starbucks ones, must have developed skin thicker than elephant hide for hearing all sorts of jokes about their company.

but i'm wrong. laura interrupted, and said, "all right, you're going to make me cry," laughed, and the other remaining crew laughed. laura has to catch a 7:45 p.m. train. i exited and said good night.

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