The waitress took their order and then disappeared behind the swinging metal doors. Olivia propped her elbows onto the table, a cup of coffee in her grip. She yawned.
“You’re tired, Livy,” Danny said.
“Yeah. You look like a ‘Livy’ to me. If you don’t like it, I won’t—”
“Oh no. It’s fine. No one’s ever called me that before. My family calls me ‘Olly.’”
“Na. You’re a Livy.”
“I like it. But, anyway, yes, I am tired. Amelia has an ear infection.”
“Oh, now I really feel bad.”
“You need to be home taking care of her. This job, Olivia, it’ll steal from you, even when you don’t know it.”
“She’ll be fine. I know this is something we need to do together.”
She sipped her coffee. “What did it steal from you, Danny?” she asked curiously.
“Oh wow. Well, I was a New York cop,” he began.
“I knew you were from New York. I could tell by your accent and the tattoo,” she said with a shy smile. “Why did you leave there?”
“I was nineteen and I thought I was freakin’ invincible; you know? I thought nothin’ could get to me. I had been an officer for about a year. I went straight to the academy after high school.
“My folks lived in Brooklyn. My dad and mom struggled to make ends meet as it was. I knew they couldn’t afford to send me to college. My sister Margie, she was the brilliant one. She got scholarships. Me? I was average,” he said with a shrug. “I didn’t want to go to the military, though. My mom would’ve lost her mind. So, I thought being a cop was more my style. Well, that didn’t help her either, especially since I was a New York cop,” he said as he smiled.
Olivia nodded. “Moms worry. That’s what we do. It’s in the job description.”
“You’re right. I know you’re right. Ma always says to me, ‘No matter how old you are, you’re still goin’a be my baby.’”
After taking another sip of coffee, Olivia lowered the cup back onto the table. “So how’d you end up here?”
“September eleventh. That’s what did it for me.”
“Were you there? In the buildings?”
“No. I got called back on shift. I saw the entire thing happen from the streets. My partner and me, we, uh– we stayed and helped with clean up. Our friends, our brothers and sisters in uniform,” he stopped for a moment, obviously choked up.