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There’s a Line

My friend warns me, “There’s always a line. But it’s worth the wait.” Even though the place is called Prune, I trust my friend’s taste in breakfast joints. I don’t mind waiting. During my walk down from midtown, I pass half a dozen churches; on every corner just across from the church, homeless men and women camp, signs out and paper cups in hand. No cash on me, I keep walking. It’s starting to get cold. I arrive on 1st about twenty minutes early. Turning down the side street, I am happy to follow the descending numbers through the brightening swath of morning sun. There’s a line of people across the street. It’s bright, and my eyesight is particularly poor at mid-range, so it takes a few steps to realize the men and women are waiting for a soup kitchen to open. I walk on. Soon enough I spot the line for Prune. Even half blind, I can tell the difference. A small clutch of hipsters in wool hats and down coats linger outside the door, chatting, moving their feet to stay warm. One of the men has pulled out juggling balls and has started juggling. Everyone else peering down at their phones. One woman blows softly across her nose ring. I read the restaurant’s menu. A few minutes before ten, my friend shows up. When the door opens, we file in with the growing crowd, grab one of the small tables in the back. As we pick up our menus, happy to be in from the cold, coffee tipped into our mugs, we’re all of sudden ravenous.