He was an unremarkable man. Divorced. A grown kid. She wouldn’t even return his calls – her mother filled her head with lies, all those lies – and he decided long ago that despite working in a job with no potential to climb the corporate ladder, well, it was better than being unemployed. And he liked it just fine. The wages were decent at least and he enjoyed the people that he worked with. Most people couldn’t say that. Things never go as anyone plans them anyway, he knew that much, and wondered why if everyone always said that all his life, it took him so long to realize it. He was fine with it though. He could adapt. He always had.
“Another cup?” said the waitress.
“Oh, no. No,” he said, startled only as one is when they are drawn instantaneously from their deepest thoughts. “Thank you, though.”
“All right,” she said and grabbed the empty cup, then paused. A moment before awkwardness shone its ugly face, she continued: “I’ll bring you your check then.”
He sighed, exaggerating the exhalation, hoping the waitress might strike up a conversation, ask him how he was doing, and he might just say he was fine, but at least she would have asked. He didn’t find her pretty or even that interesting, just thought it might be nice to talk to her for a minute. He’d come here for years, she’d been here for all of them, and he still wasn’t sure of her name. He used to know it, or he thought he had at one point, back when she used to wear a name tag, when her hair still held its color and her bottom wasn’t so round, but that’d been years ago and he’d since forgotten it.
She returned with his check, the same price he saw every day for his coffee and muffin. He studied it anyway. After looking it over twice, he pulled out a five dollar bill and handed the check and money to her.
“You working tomorrow?” he said.
“You know I am,” she said.
“All right then.”
“All right,” she said and turned away.
“I’ll see you tomorrow. You keep that change.”
She walked away without another word. He wasn’t sure if she hadn’t heard him or if she just chose not to respond. He wondered if maybe he bugged her, if he was one of those morning regulars that the staff groaned about every morning when he walked in with his paper and tote bag, arguing who was going to take him today, forgetting that he was once young, he once had dreams, desires, ideas – same as them. Same as anybody. But no, he thought. No. He tipped fine and kept to himself. Mostly, at least. He’d want to wait on a guy like himself.
It didn’t matter anyway. None of it really did. He could always get coffee somewhere else, that much he had control over. Hell, he was going to get coffee somewhere else. She didn’t want to listen to him, then fine, he’d just find a place with somebody that’d listen to him. He tipped well enough, he ought to have some conversation. It wasn’t so much to ask. And she was acting like she was something she wasn’t, but she was just a waitress, been one probably her whole life, and he had a fine job, made decent wages, supported both his wife and kid at one point on it and still had money saved up. He’d just find another place to get coffee. That settled it.
He stood up and began to walk towards the door, the last time he’d walk out of the stinking place.
“You have a nice day now,” the waitress said. “We’ll see you tomorrow, Rich.”
“All right,” he said and smiled. “See you tomorrow.” Then he walked out.
Created: Feb 08, 2012Jonathan Document Media