Despite seeing him everyday, he didn't know his name. Each day, 7:00 a.m. sharp, the customer walked into the small corner store. The clerk couldn't recall when it had started, but the usual routine had been present in both their lives for a while.
The man and his sullen overcoat made a circuit around the aisles. Collecting a small bag of nuts and an apple, he came to a halt in front of the coffeemaker. With practiced movements the customer pulled out a Styrofoam cup and lid, slid it under the instant cappuccino maker, and pressed the button.
Sweet caramel colored liquid poured into the container. The churn of the machine mixing with the sputtering droplets of cappuccino splashing noisily into the cup. After a moment the lid secured itself to its other half and the man resumed his circuit. Picking up a plastic wrapped sub, he finished his route at the clerks counter.
Exact change. Every time. With a smile the two greeted each other. Morning pleasantries were exchanged, and the familiar encounter came to its usual ending. The man would quickly mention the top news story of the day and a brief insightful remark. These choice words were the reason why the clerk choose these morning shifts. A smile on his face, the two bid each other goodbye and with a wave, the unknown man walked out to his unknown destination; the clerk leaning into his morning paper.