The muscles in Rose’s neck
tightened and pulsed with each breath. The tension spread to her
temples. She rubbed them, knowing it would do no good. Her head weighed
a hundred pounds, as did her heart.
Working in the coffee shop was
not helping. Typically she loved making frothy drinks with jolts of
espresso; it was a fun diversion from studying. But today customer
service was taking its toll.
Emotional labor should
pay more than $5.75 an hour.
Smiling at each customer,
remembering to lift the corners of her mouth and eyes just enough to
make it look sincere, Rose tried desperately to keep it together. But
her heart was working against her. It was as if gravity pulled her lips
downward into a line of grief. She tried swallowing, but the tension in
her neck created a lump in her throat.
Why, Lord? What is
wrong with me?
With moisture gathering in her
eyes, she took a ragged breath.
“Rose, are you okay? You look
pale,” Eddie said, his blue-eyed gaze floating along her every facial
feature as if in search of something.
“Oh, I’m just feeling sick
today.” Which is true, though not from the common bug.