Two co-workers get to know each other after work.
He knew that he felt an affinity with her. He wondered if those customers felt the same.
"Do you like your job?" He asked.
"I do." She said, beaming.
"I know it is not interesting or a particularly fashionable job. But at least I have a job. In this condition, I am lucky to be having a job in the first place. Most employers prefer an able-bodied employee." She said, obviously referring to her disability.
"There are laws protecting people who have physical disadvantages. You are equally entitled to all the same jobs." He said.
He felt a little pained saying the word disadvantage because he thought that she was simply perfect. Yet he could not find a better word.
"I am a cripple. I am handicapped. I am lame. Whatever terminology used, it doesn't change my condition. It's ok. I accept that. People have grown more politically correct over the years." She said simply.
He looked deep into her eyes then.
"You're so much more." He said in a firm voice.
Their gazes locked and she pulled her gaze away, looking down.
"Subtly the employers just don't employ you. They tell you that they have found a more suitable candidate." She said.
She mentioned then that she had gone through a three hundred job applications before she got this job.
"That's their loss." He said.
She appreciated the way he was being kind to her.
"Mostly I like the job because it follows the same routine every day. I feel calm when I have a routine. I had a nervous breakdown after my accident but this job kept me sane. The routine is what I need." She said.
His other free hand gently touched her hands which were upon his arms.
"Do you mind if I became part of your routine?" He asked.
"What do you mean?" She said, barely registering the meaning of his question.
"I would like to book a time slot with you after work. I would like to walk with you to the station every evening. It gives me joy to engage in your routine. Plus I do enjoy talking to you." He said.
"Perhaps after a few conversations, you would find that I am far from interesting." She said.
"Well, I dare say you would find the same about me." He had answered.
She did not reply but looked ahead. So did he then. They walked towards the station arm in arm, oblivious to the world around them.
Her train arrived within ten minutes of them arriving at the station. She got in, and felt really light and happy to be alive in the now. She had not felt that way for a long time. Light as a feather.
He walked out of the station to the wellness centre car park. He got in the car, and felt really light and happy to be alive in the now. He had always felt light when he saw her at the coffee joint. Now spending even more time with her, he felt even lighter. There was no logical explanation, and he thought perhaps he might be infatuated with her. He tried to drown that out by thinking that perhaps it was misguided compassion. After all, she was physically disadvantaged.
The next few weeks saw them meeting each other twice a day. The first during his mid-noon break and the second after she closed the joint for the day. During this time, they found that they really had a good rapport with each other. She considered him a friend for the moment, not daring to wish for more, while he considered her someone he had grown fond to. He thought of the possibility of getting too involved but he brushed it aside. Perhaps it was just that he never had someone whom he could talk to so freely before.
He had friends but along the years, they had grown estranged due to career and family. Along the years, he had found himself increasingly alone while his friends started families and naturally spent more time with them. That said, he liked the contents of her mind and thought that she was very intelligent yet did not want to appear so.
On her part, she enjoyed him as a routine.