The young boy behind the counter, in his black uniform, and bright yellow apron, worked at the pace of glaciers carving the Mississippi.
Instead of reading, my eyes kept wandering off the page up to counter behind the deli glass, mesmerized by his methodical, gentle movements.
He lifted the egg white discs off the industrial baking sheet with thoughtful, delicate motions. Gently, he slid a plastic-gloved finger underneath each gelatinous circle and loosened it from where the heat had melded it to the pan. With the utmost care, he stacked each circle on the other, lightly placing a thin sheet of waxed paper between them. His movements were meditative and precise, full of the prayerfulness of monks illuminating vellum.
Hot oven, he called tentatively as he pulled the toasting bagel out of the industrial robot-like oven (nothing of the home or hearth about it), warning his fellow workers of the danger of the oven door. But he had the certain authority of one who is following the safety protocol to the letter, betrayed by his novice zeal.
He gently placed an egg disc on the hot bagel. Next, he cut an avocado. Thoughtfully, and with precision, he sliced the green fruit into wedges.
He scooped them from the dark rind, and gently splayed them on the bagel's top half. He carefully arranged the slices, so they fanned out, a lush peacock's tail on the burnt bread background. Meticulously, he turned each one so that it rested on her neighbor, until the bagel half was covered with undulating waves of green.
Once the sandwich was assembled, he carefully wrapped the bagel in foil, tucking in each corner, folding it to make a clean and perfect package.
I'm sorry I got avocado on here, pointing to the ticket, extending the foil-wrapped bagel cheerfully, arms stiff with shyness.
Oh don't worry about it.
And thank you.