- Inspired by the song “The Secret of Life” by Faith Hill
Awakening this morning before dawn, life brought with it hope. In it, he had newborn ambition to create a life that would replace the broken one that had recently ended.
No more booze, no more cigarettes; he awoke this morning to a freshly brewed cup of coffee with cream and sugar.
The morning light began to rise over the horizon. The clouds in the distance showed colors of red and purple. Joseph poured himself a cup of coffee. The morning air that he enjoyed with his coffee shivered his skin, but with feelings of life and vitality.
The sun was still below the horizon. It was in the early morning hours and his family would not be up for another two. He had to go to work; he would have to be there at 7:00. He sipped his coffee while the chill rejuvenated his senses. He enjoyed the tranquility in the morning hours which he spent alone.
As was typical, he would make breakfast for himself this morning. He did not want to go to work with an empty stomach, so, with the ease of a masterful chef, he fried and egg. He made a sandwich with the egg and a slice of cheese. A glass of orange juice and a bowl of cereal completed the meal.
After breakfast, he went about his morning routine. He cleaned the dishes, shaved, brushed his teeth, showered, and put on clean work clothes.
Not too typical of an exciting life, but it brought with it the joy he cherished every day.
Joseph got into his car and drove to work. He had been out of work for five years as a recovering alcoholic, but he had managed to keep this job at the bagel shop as an assistant manager for the last seven months. Things in Joseph’s life were finally going in the right direction.
Traffic was not bad this morning in a small suburban town on the outskirts of San Diego. As he drove, a song came on the radio.
“The sun shines on the ground and the grass is oh so green. My heart is filled, and I got the will, and I really don’t feel so mean.”
It was a rather older song by VanMorison, but it inspired his soul.
Joseph arrived at work. There to greet him were his manager and three of the early shift workers. The smell of fresh bagels permeated the air. Shelly, Emily, and Tom, as well as George, the manager, wished him “good mornings.”
The monotony of life did not bother Joseph. The routine in which Shelly and Emily eagerly awaited him with a smile brought to him simple joy. Moreover, his friendships with Tom and with George were not as superficial as had been the friendships at the bar.
Although the work entailed at such a job did not challenge him in any way, the social outlets that it enabled caused him to smile in his soul.
Greeting him this morning, Shelly smiled and talked about a television show she had seen last night. He had a few years on most everybody there, but the friendships he made were, in some way, very real.
“Blake Shelton was great on ‘TheVoice’ last night,” she said, thinly disguising the crush the 18-year old girl had on the singer.
While they all went about the opening duties involved in working at a small bakery, Tom and Joseph continued to discuss football and the Super Bowl.
“I was for Green Bay all year,” I thought they were going to win it all,” Joseph told Tom.
George broke in as the two young girls meandered into their own conversation, “My team is the Steeler’s,” he shared. “They always have been, but they haven’t done much for a few years.”
“They always have a good team though,” Joseph said.
Although the conversation was trite, it served to build profound friendships.
When he arrived at work this morning, Joseph was met by smiles from Shelly and Emily. Although they were both younger than he, the smiles on their faces and the joy in their hearts invoked similar emotions in Joseph. Both, despite their youth, were very beautiful. He was not looking for any kind of a relationship any time soon in his life, but the palpable emotions of joy that he felt warmed his heart.
While they worked, the conversation evolved on its own volition. An hour after he got to work, the customers started to file in. The simple tasks of pouring coffee and toasting bagels were repetitive, but he embraced his duties from a precious outlook that somehow brought meaning. With a friendly demeanor, he welcomed each customer. With courtesy, he prepared every order.
Working on his feet for an 8 hour shift, it brought with it the appreciation simply to be alive.
It was his lunch break now. A couple of the other workers had come in for the morning rush. Joseph enjoyed a garlic bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese and a tomato. With it, he had a cup of coffee.
Sitting in the back of the store, Shelly and Joseph shared their lunch break. Her pretty smile and liberated manner allowed Joseph to enjoy the conversation with no prospect of anything growing from it. Her usual smile was all he needed to bring the love in to his life that had been missing through his many years of alcoholism.
Joseph finished his eight hour shift. On his way home, he would visit a coffee shop. Sitting and reading the book by Steven King, Salem’s Lot,' he enjoyed a cup of coffee. Although the coffee shop was full of patrons, he sat in solitude enjoying his coffee and his book. The gothic nature of the story, not reflecting his own newfound optimism in life, allowed him to delve deep into another world.
Joseph finished his coffee and drove home. Tomorrow would be a new day bringing with it freedom and enchantment.