Wellfleet, Dec. 30, 7:34 p.m.: Francine Williams is nearing the end of her 14-hour shift at the Mobil gas station on Route 6. She clocked in just before 6 a.m. in the predawn light. Now, as night settles, the 19-year-old stands behind the counter with a warm smile. She’s wearing a light blue tracksuit with “Brooklyn Baby” emblazoned on the front. She glances down at her phone. The stuff around her is a collage of vices: cigarette packs, candy bars, and lottery tickets, all framed by the glow of a neon Pepsi sign.
Looking out past the deserted gas pumps, Williams’s smile shifts. Route 6 is nothing like the lively streets of the Bronx, her former home. She moved to the Cape just a few months ago, leaving New York City behind. Living with her mom in Wellfleet, she says she’s still getting used to the calm here.
“I’m a ‘me’ person,” she says of the solitary beats of life on the Cape. There are only a few minutes left on the clock before she closes shop for the night. “I’m getting used to it.”