As she cleared tables Julie thought about travel and poetry. It was turning grey outside so there’d be few customers this afternoon. Perfect for dreaming. Jen and Keesha were out the back talking about boys and celebrity gossip. Fine for them she figured. They were happy here. But she longed to be a woman of letters and leisure. She’d work just enough to get by and then to leave. She didn’t want anything anchoring her in this city now childhood was over.

Then Dan sloped through the door and ripped his hand through his thick black hair. In cowboy boots and long coat with eyes of smoke-stained glass he was something like a panther. Something like an escapee. He sat near the window. Looked at the rain and the hurrying crowds. Ordered coffee. He smiled when she brought it. “Take a break. Get yourself one.” And he nodded towards the empty chair opposite.