The credit terminal at the hipster café wasn’t working – Qurat D

Qurat Dar is an engineering student and an emerging author. She has work forthcoming currently in The Evansville Review, Augur Magazine, The Temz Review, Rag Queen Periodical, Yellow Taxi Press, Neologism Poetry, Cabinet of Heed, Awkward Mermaid Lit Mag, Anathema Magazine, and KROS Magazine. She was also recently a finalist in the 2018 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW). Find her on Twitter: @DQur4t

The credit terminal at the hipster café wasn’t working
By Qurat D.

and for a few minutes of pure anxiety, the barista and I stand in uneasy silence, with only half hearted
attempts at conversation.  She sees the tape on my credit
card, probably sees the gaping hole in my backpack
(both the result of carelessness than anything
else), probably wonders why I’m in a café with
stylized prints on the walls, trying to buy a $6 coffee,
why I’m wearing eyeliner and skinny jeans, when I
should have spent that money on a nose job,
wondering if she should actually believe when I say
that the card, taped, has worked many times at
other terminals with other skeptical clerks,
she asks me if I have any other cards. I wonder if
I should tell her I live around the corner, that I could run
and grab one, get cash (which I never carry), I wonder
what she’ll be thinking in the ten minutes it takes me to get back,
all to pay for my lukewarm, overpriced coffee, all to save face
after the humiliation of a blank screen,

Do you have tap?

I try not to think about how few brown faces I see in the room,
that somebody else is in line behind me now, that this is all a
performance and I’ve been a terrible actress for as long as I’ve
learned what it is to act.

Once the terminal reboots I tap it again, trying not to grind my teeth.
It makes a flippant sound of recognition.

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