Chapter 2: Fracture
In the morning light, Leigha began damage assessment at the kitchen doorway. Tears through the night were long spent; exhaustion and discouragement resided in their place. The quick look last night proved no change. All the hooded shadows had accomplished what they had intended in her little coffeehouse. She noticed filthy walls painted with street smoke and pictures dangled precariously on their hooks through the dim light. Leigha’s shop had been destroyed. She coughed from acrid smoke, and at that doorway… at that moment, her livelihood had been destroyed along with the café.
Leigha’s fingers trembled as they pressed against her lips. The handmade shelves of gift items carefully selected and ordered had been completely ransacked and stolen. The vintage coffee grinder given to Leigha as a Grand Opening gift from family cast aside, broken on the old wood plank floor. There it rested, among scattered coffee beans and broken glass and trash and baked goods and, strangely, one red and gray tennis shoe- not Leigha’s. She sucked in a sharp breath and cupped her mouth to avoid an outward helpless cry.
Instead, she whispered through her hand, “Yes… you will get through this.”
Her slippered feet stepped through the fractured glass. She righted the upended dining tables, but only one chair remained unbroken. Shattered storefront glass left only the lettering …Sand…, the solitary remains of the designated Leigha’s Coffee and Sandwich Shop. The front door hung askew on one hinge and squeaked with each minor gust of wind. Her eye went to the gray-singed glass that once said Sorry, We’re Closed on Sunday, now only three letters…Sun…still clung to the fractured glass.
Leigha gripped the table as reality gained momentum and found her standing silent. Tears made black cheek-trails and dropped gray wetness onto her jacket. The loud head-buzz slightly abated as she focused on the sirens and a few angry voices at the street. In her retreat back to the kitchen she felt the glass and trash underfoot but stared numbly at the kitchen door.
This was not her fight, but this heavy, jagged shrapnel had found Leigha’s street, her store. She overlapped her jacket at the front, clutched it with one hand at the neck, closed the kitchen door, and clicked the lock once again.
What will Leigha do? Chapter 3 will be posted soon.