I look up to the seventeenth floor. She is small and so high up. It would be easier to see her as a dot or a full stop. But she is subjective and coughing from the smoke. She has no choice. I cannot imagine what she is feeling. Maybe she isn’t thinking at all.
He tells the customer on the other side of the counter that I’m “good to stand and look at when it’s quiet, helps pass the time.” He says it like it’s nothing and hands over the boxed-up pizza. The customer stifles a laugh, scuttling out the door with a reptilian backwards glance.
I stay still and silent. He turns to the ovens and lifts a stack of greased black trays towards the sink, dropping them in. The belt that pulls the pizzas through is still rotating.
A forceful jolt awakes me. In the moment before sleep pulls me into its embrace. I twitch.
The unexpected sound of the doorbell makes her jump. She was falling into the muddled sleep of those who haven’t rested in a while.
Her hand was laying lightly on the baby’s stomach, and the satisfied, deep breathing of the little girl had made up for the odd angle it was at, her wrist resting on the edge of the Moses basket.