In Portland, after the rain, the air would become so transparent that Amy would stop being able to perceive distance. She would bike down Belmont from Mt. Tabor with the cold burning in her lungs, the wind tearing through her hair and whipping the ends to slap her cheeks, and she would look out over the city, green and water-sparkling, with her eyes scrunched halfway shut against the brightness. Her fingers would be numb when she tried to do up her bike lock, and when she finally tumbled through into the cafe the bells on the door would knock against her thigh. The air inside would feel like a sauna, the feeling returning to her fingers one stinging nerve ending at a time.
The bells on the door jingle, and Amy shifts and looks back down at her MacBook, mostly. Revised spec for Smith Cooper Enterprises, the subject line says. The email body is still empty. The redheaded barista is just coming in through door, her face flushed pink over her perpetual pair of scarves. Amy stirs her tea the other direction and watches the barista unwrap her overabundance of winter clothing, hanging each piece on the coat rack by the kitchen door. Nate, the owner—a grumpy middle-aged exile from yuppiedom who always looks resentful whenever Amy asks for the honey for her tea—is obviously lecturing her; Amy glances at the clock on her MacBook, which says that it is 1:03 P.M. The redheaded barista has rounded, soft-looking shoulders and impossibly elegant curves of arm; when she’s behind the bar, she ties her thick masses of hair back from her face with one of an apparently endless number of floral printed kerchiefs; and she works from 1 P.M. to the cafe’s 10 P.M close, every Tuesday through Friday, and sometimes picks up half-shifts on Saturday night when the huge barista with the brown-blond dreads gets a gig.
“Smith-Cooper Enterprises” is supposed to be hyphenated. Amy fixes it.