She approached the counter and read the list of food prices with serious concentration and diligence.
“Can I help you?” the man at the register said no small hint of snobbishness in his voice.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out a handful of change without any embarrassment whatsoever; she was a college student and paid for her classes on her own thanks to hard work and dedication to her education. It wasn’t her fault she was hurting for money, and normally she wouldn’t spend her hard-earned cash on such frivolity, but her stomach was starting to distract the other people in the quiet café.
“What do you recommend I get with this much?” she asked him.
He sifted through the change with a pen and pushed it around a bit. “Well, you could get another twenty minutes on the parking meter,” he said with a laugh as he looked around for a reaction, but nobody was around to join him. He cleared his throat and got serious. “You can get half a hot dog, which we won’t do, or four bags of peanuts from the sale basket over there.”
She pushed the change in his direction a bit and took picked up the peanuts.
“Thanks,” she said with a genuine smile as she returned to her seat and tore into both the snack and her homework.
Photograph by Christina Molholm, my favorite monster maker, whose blog can be found here.