“Good Morning! How ya doing today?” Amanda said to Martin as he entered the KWIK-STOP store half asleep at six thirty in the morning.
“Hanging in, you?” He muttered back to her. She looked up from a tray of a dozen breakfast sandwiches that she was preparing and said with genuine glee,
“Fantastic! ALWAYS FANTASTIC!”
He smiled back at her and proceeded to pour himself his daily cup of coffee.
“Fantastic? She really feels this way?” He thought to himself.
A week previous, Martin had talked to new employee Amanda one morning when the store was slow. He found out that she drives an hour to work every morning because of the lack of full-time jobs in her area. She also had a two-year old daughter named “Jessica”. Eighteen months ago, Jessica’s father took a trip to go get cigarettes one night and that was the last time Amanda ever saw him. An older sister of Amanda helped out with Jessica whenever she could. But, Amanda would have to pick up the sister whenever she needed her help. Another DUI had taken away the sister’s license for good this time last spring. She was now in a program dealing with her demons in the bottle. Amanda’s rent was cheap but the place was small and needed work. Work that the landlord ignored, especially if the tenants were behind on their rent. Amanda found this out the hard way two days ago when there was no heat one freezing morning. The KWIK-MART gig was the only thing she could find with her limited education and skills. A job that paid the bills and that’s about it. No vacation, no extravagances and no social life whatsoever.
A yawn like a lion brought him back to the present, stirring his coffee. He grabbed a package of mini chocolate donuts on his way up to the register to pay.
Amanda approached the register and started to scan the items.
“These donuts are goooood, I had them yesterday!” she looked back down at the register and started to tap some buttons.
“Well, its just a little treat for today. I usually don’t have them” He said almost defending his decision to buy them.
Amanda looked up at him. “They were my lunch yesterday and they hit the spot!” She smiled at him and showed off her blue eyes. Eyes that were clear and full of promise.
He paid Amanda and started to leave. “Have a good day,Amanda” he said back to her.
She smiled even wider. “My day is already Fantastic! Thanks, you too!” Amanda then went back to making dozens of sandwiches for other people to eat for their lunches.
He stood outside the store. It was now 6:40 am and the sun had just risen. He was still trying to wake up and get ready for his dreary day of employment. His commute took only ten minutes but then the day would feel like years again, sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen. He looked back inside back at Amanda who was now trying to fill up a bunch of heavy carafes with fresh coffee. She moved quickly and determined. She had the pace of someone who was never going to let anyone or anything beat her.
The pace of someone fantastic.