Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Waitress


photo by: Patrick Cummings



I am called into the manager’s office and asked to sit in one of the black rolly chairs. Standing above me and leaning on the desks, three cross-armed managers tell me that I haven’t been happy lately. I agree, though this submission makes me suddenly feel like a booger has been pointed out on my nose. Tears surface, as if for breath from their compressed position in the marrow of my ribs. They don’t love their jobs either, they tell me, but my behavior lately has not been characteristic of me. I, apparently, have not hid myself well behind my "goodhowareyous." 


I don't deserve this nosy poking attention, this awkward interrogation. I want to walk out and go home, but I don't because that too wouldn't be like me and I do not want to prove them right. 


Eventually, I agree to more smiles and return to my side work of stocking tiny jellies into flavor categories, filling salt and peeper shakers, cutting lemons and making pots of coffee.


I am a waitress so I am supposed to be happy all the time, but I am a waitress so I am not happy most of the time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Somewhere Else


photo by: Patrick Cummings

There are no river boulders to hobble over on long morning walks. There is no porch swing or hammock to fall asleep in after reading only one page. There is no dog anxiously anticipating me to ask if he wants to go for a walk.



Here, fire engines blare alarms, waking me at 4 a.m. Late night snow plow drivers tip mailboxes and pop street pimples for time and a half. Commuters honk horns, hurrying through yellow lights and pedestrian crossings, cursing and avoiding eye contact. Commuters wedge into already cramped train cars to sardine strangers, elbow elders and fall onto me. Everyone is trying to be somewhere else. Somewhere else sooner than now.

This personal bubble bursting life clings to me like painful static. My unread novels look like unfinished book reports. Long desired walks are rejected when laundry needs to be wheeled across the train tracks to the closest laundromat.  I just want a field, a dog and I don't want my clock bullying me any more.

Fiancé


photo by: Scott Braidman


I enthusiastically encouraged this wedding engagement to quiet my impatient head-shaking grandparents. I pushed and pushed and pushed for the ring to reach my naked knuckle and strangle my finger for two days. I pushed and pushed for the giggling emergency room nurse to slowly saw my finger free. And I pushed for Scott's uncle, the jeweler, to meld the ring back together again.

But now I am too shy to use the word, fiancé. 
This is my boyfriend. I say.