As my thinking and balanced returned to normal after my fall, I was able to move back to Cartersville and return to working at the coffee shop. But something was wrong and I noticed it during my first day of work.
It was Mrs Lundi, the wife of the shop’s owner. She seemed to be distant and sad.
A group of teachers had come to the university for a day long workshop and during their afternoon break, they filled every table inside and then spilled out to every table outside. The three of us kept busy for the hour filling their orders so I did not have time to process what I was seeing.
At the end of the day as I prepare to leave, Mr Lundi called me to a table for a chat.
“Alice, you may not have noticed that Ariel is not the same as she was when you left for home.” I had noticed but was not sure if I should say anything.
“I am telling you this because I will be gone most of next week to visit some new suppliers. I am putting you in charge of the store and you will have help from the two high school students we hired in the spring. I am not sure if you will see Ariel next week.”
As if anticipating my thoughts he continued. “Ariel received some devastating news the day after you left. Her youngest sister who lived in Argentina was killed by thieves she surprised as she returned home one afternoon.”
Both of my hands went to my face as I processed the words I had just heard. “Her husband worked for a large French company and it is believed that they were also being targeted by extremists to cause problems.”
“Is her husband, her family alright?”
“Yes, they are. They have returned to France for now. But Ariel has not been the same.”
Mr Lundi paused and then pulled out a prescription bottle, opened it, then proceeded to take a small white oval tablet from the bottle, and with a glass of water he swallowed it. Once he drained the glass of the water he seem to remember that I was there.
“Oh, I just remembered to take my Xanax. With all that is going on with Ariel and having to run the shop, for the most part, alone, I have not been sleeping well.”