Thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty–
“Hey.” Patrick came into the back room, interrupting my counting.
“Hi.” Thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six.
“How are you?” He asked, washing out the brew heads in the triple sink from their overnight soak and avoiding eye contact.
“I don’t know what you expect me to say.” I said.
The sun was just about to rise above the snow-capped houses outside the drive-thru window. My drawer was counted, and I headed out to the front of the shop to get the coffee brewing.
“Do you want me to put out bakery?” Patrick asked, following me.
“Sure. I have to use the bathroom.” I crossed the darkened store and locked the bathroom door behind me. I leaned against it for a minute, slowly breathing through my nose. I placed my hand on my stomach, willing the nausea to go down, and miraculously it did. I spat in the sink, washed my hands, and opened the door. Sighing one last time, I hardened my face and went to turn on the lights. My watch said 5:55am. Almost opening time.
“Do you want me on drive?” Patrick asked as he shut the bakery case and threw away the empty boxes.
“Sure.” I said, handing him a headset as I put the other on. I flipped on the “OPEN” sign and poured myself a cup of coffee.
Ding. The weight sensor rang in the ear of the headset.
“Thank you for stopping at Caribou, my name is Patrick, what can I make for you this morning?” Our eyes caught for a split second and my nausea rose suddenly, passing right out my mouth into my coffee cup. Bile mixed with hot coffee splashed onto my feet and all over the floor.
“I’m so sorry.” Patrick said as he grabbed the mop and began to clean the floor, awkwardly dabbing my shoes. I stood there, paralyzed by the vomit and the coffee and the poor man in the drive-thru wondering why his order wasn’t being repeated back to him. My heart broke as I stared at Patrick frantically scrubbing the remains of my stomach contents off the floor. In that moment, I knew what I couldn’t do, and what I couldn’t do to him.
“Me too,” I said. “I’m keeping the baby.”