"are you done with that, ma'am?" he asks.
i want to say no--not no, i'm not done with that, but no, don't call me that. no i'm not much older than you, no i don't need your respect, no it's really not necessary. you know, it wasn't so long ago that i was just like you, pouring coffee and clearing tables, cursing the customers who left crappy tips, making five bucks an hour so that i could make payments on my first car.
i am ready to protest, until i remember it was that long ago and i am much older than him. when i was his age, he was drinking too much pepsi, playing nintendo all afternoon and riding his bike in circles around me. he was calling me buttface. i was calling him twerp.
now i am an independent woman who works 40 hours a week and owns her car.
i look up at the boy--his sweet, awkward grin and spikey, gel-caked hair, his shorts that go down to his shins and could wrap around two boys his size, and his beat-up, unlaced sketchers i want to tie for him--and instead of giving him a piece of my mind, i say, "yes, thank you," and take a final sip of coffee. i always leave a good tip.