How Long It Takes

The security guard stood up immediately from her breakfast.

She wove through the food court’s tables and went straight to the cash register at the pastry shop.

At a table just behind where the security guard had sat was a girl. She wore pink sneakers that glowed. Her eyebrows were raised high up on her forehead, her mouth was open in a penny-sized ‘o.’

“Adriana!” the girl’s father aye-yai-yai-ed. And both father and daughter watched as hot coffee Adriana had accidentally knocked out of its cup ran across the table and splattered the floor of the airport terminal.

As father and daughter searched their bags for napkins, the security guard returned. At the pastry shop, she had pulled napkin after napkin from the dispenser by the cash register. She had woven back through the food court’s tables and gone straight to Adriana’s side.

She handed the girl some of the napkins. With the rest, she wiped up the coffee on the girl’s chair first. She wiped up the coffee on the girl’s side of the table next. Then, the rest of the table.

Father and daughter watched the security guard with surprise. They thanked her four, five times as all three of them mopped up coffee with pastry shop napkins. The security guard nodded, smiled, “Sure thing.”

They finished. Father and daughter said thank you again, waved goodbye with dripping napkins in their hands. And the security guard returned to her table, which was dry and untouched.

The coffee spilled, the napkins grabbed, the table and chair dried – it all happened in less than a minute. And that’s how long it takes to let a girl and her father know that we’re all in this thing together.

The Lightning Notes is funded solely by kind donors. If something here strikes you, I’d be grateful if you’d consider donating. Click to Donate!