By Beau Cadiyo
I’d walked in worried I wouldn’t recognize her, but Kate wore the same expectation on her face and when I smiled we did recognize each other and things became easier. She moved us to the big plush chairs near the front; the line was too long and slow-moving, so rather than wait we started planning. She’d already gotten coffee.
When the line was smaller, I walked up and ordered. Flummoxed by the choice of bagels on which I could have my eggs and cheese, I chose blueberry; the friendly waitress said, “Fuck it, it’s Saturday, we’re crazy,” and got me a medium cup of coffee. She made me specify the size, but it wasn’t clear that there was any difference between the cups. Next to the cream and sugar bar I overheard a mother and two teenage girls lamenting the exchange rate with Britain; upon returning to my chair, two men – one a video artist who walked with a cane – talked loudly and excitedly about what they’d done and would do real soon, and how amazing it would be.
The server had huge eyes; they stared at you excitedly, like a hippie camp counselor who was expecting great things of you and wanted to be encouraging and help you develop to someday be as enlightened as her. Annoying on one level, but I also didn't want to let her down.
The eggs she brought were not too wet, not too dry; not warm, but not prohibitively hot; not angel-cake fluffy, but not dense; not falling out of the sides, but not sparse. They would have pleased Goldilocks. The cheese played a minor role, sticking clammily to the eggs and sweating, but with the eggs, saltily contrasted with the sweet, fresh-tasting bagel. A single, probably organic, orange slice provided a small dessert.
Bernard, the video artist, broke in and asked us questions about what we were doing; Kate handled it without batting an eye. She’s professional. Sitting there, I felt very inadequate in the midst of so much potential.