A Clean Slate

We meet every morning in the canteen at work.

Her day is well underway. A yellow “wet floor” sign stands sentry outside the door. I tiptoe toward the coffee pot and pour a cup.

We exchange greetings.

I return for a second cup and start to pour the remaining cold swallows down the drain. I look at the spotless basin and think otherwise.

She wipes. She empties, head down and purposeful. I admire her work ethic.

She once asked why I nuke my joe in the microwave, wondering if there is anything wrong with the coffee maker. I assured her everything is OK and apologized for my quirkiness.

Months pass. A new year starts. The awkward silences grow.

A week ago, I mustered the courage to ask her name.

It is Annabelle.


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