Detroit Airport 5:15am
The old school clock radio, standard equipment in most airport motels, started my day a few hours earlier with an annoying yet highly effective buzz.
The short shuttle ride to the terminal begins the journey home.
In my own little world, and in desperate need of caffeine, I patiently wait in the security line and observe the pressing of flesh on all sides being herded through a single scanner of TSA. Like a horse being let-out to pasture I take my belongings and head toward the departure gate scanning every shop - looking for any sign of life. At this early hour everything appears to be closed. Off in the distance, movement at a small stall gives hope. With a new found spring in my step I bee-line towards the stall. A middle aged woman is redding her coffee stand - bending and groaning with the rhythm of repetition. I notice her swollen ankles and the weight they are carrying. Her uniform is clean but well-worn and in need of a friend in-kind to give it a day off as the stitching near her shoulders plead for reinforcement. I ask her simply - if by chance - a small black coffee could be poured and I would gladly pay a straight $5, for the interruption. Without looking up she continues her set-up.
I step back and pause.
My mind wanders.
What time does she rise? Are her days long and nights longer? Seeing no keys, I
assume she might be taking public transportation. Sitting on the worn-out seats of the 38 bus across gray-scape that was once vibrant, through neighborhoods that are more hoods than neighborly.
I’m startled when she responds, “no, that’s ok, I’m just about set up so you can order anything you like.” We make eye contact and her eyes are neither happy or sad, just aware. She’s not really seeing me but seeing right through me - another hurried traveler that wants what she has, paying no mind to the person.
I repeat my order, a single cup of coffee and pay while asking meekly (almost in a whisper), “How are you this morning?”
With a smile she replies, “I’m blessed.”