my daily life was never anything exciting- in fact, it often lacked the events that would pose possible forms of enthrallment. it was habitual and dull, like a shade of grey that can’t be related to anything but asylums and ominous clouds. there wasn’t much that i did besides work, smoke my cigarettes, drink a few and then trek back to the home base and sleep for a few hours, just so i could repeat the same idleness the next morning.
working as a waitress took up most of my time. i didn’t have the personality to be a hostess or even a bartender, but for some reason, i was working as a waitress, which i definitely didn’t have the personality for. i didn’t care much for people, and often times i stormed off the floor to go downstairs into the basement and let out a scream. the regular patrons knew that i was a loose cannon- but the truth of the matter is that i was not, in fact, a loose canon, i just found it difficult to relate to the patrons who made it into Gretchen’s on a daily basis, and as far as the other patrons go, i almost found them harder to deal with than i found the regulars. they didn’t know my personality and how i was classified as standoffish. they often tried to make small talk with me, and all i could do was grimace and pretend to be interested. i suppose the problem there was that, because i agreed with friederich nietzsche, i agreed that there were such things as lesser human beings, and i thought quite highly of myself- which is ironic, seeing as my career definitely did not convey that opinion.
after working a 10 hour day, i’d stay at gretchen’s and drink until my heart, or possibly my head, was satisfied, and then i’d stumble home, feed my two cats, who didn’t know me as anything but their feeder. after feeding the felines, i’d go further inside of my home, and light up a bowl, relax a bit more, and then rest my head on my fold out couch. all in all, the average person, would see me as a failure. but deep down i wasn’t. i lacked the inspiration- even though i was convinced that i had it.
one day, while working, i took one of my six given smoking breaks in a shift, and was sitting outside underneath the radiant sunshine. i was smoking my faithful american spirits and then an unknown silhouette sat beside me. turning towards the mystery, my eyes were faced with a boy with curly black hair, a milky pearl complexion, a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, and a look of confusion plastered on his face. his misfits t-shirt was ripped in multiple places, his jeans were tucked into a pair of doctor martens, and he was holding a pack of camel lights. “got a light?” he questioned.
he obviously didn’t know me, and i surely didn’t know him, but i offered him my heirloom zippo in kindness. he lit his cigarette and sighed deeply. “thanks.” was all i heard.
my smoking breaks are always filled with peace & quiet, so the unorthodox interaction had sparked a string of events that would happen in the following fifteen minutes. we sat in quiet for what seemed like forever, but was in fact, just about a minute or so, and then the silence was broken. “work here?” he questioned without looking at me.
“yeah.” i responded, moving away from him, “yeah, i do.”
“neat,” was his response, clearly comprehending that i wasn’t enjoying this brief interruption in my day. “what do you do?”
“well, its a restaurant, i’m sure you can narrow it down,” i retorted, reaching into my pocket, fingering for my phone.
“waitress.” he speculated.
i nodded and looked at the blank screen of my phone- did i really expect to have any missed calls or unread texts.
“so, what’s your name?” he asked.
“what’s it to you?” i asked, taking a drag of my vice. i stood up, and walked towards the door of Gretchen’s. Dropping my cigarette on the ground, I put my toe of my shoe to the burning ember and squished the end of it, pivoting my foot in a half circle. i pushed the door open and was faced with the artificial air-conditioning. walking down the basement stairs i took off my sweater and hung itopen on a coat hook, put my cigarettes and phone in a pocket and then headed up to the floor. at the top of the stairs i was face to face with lighter boy.
“can i help you?” i asked, pushing him aside.
“yeah, you can actually.” he said, standing his ground. “i asked you your name, because i was curious, and you walked away. just so you know, that doesn’t mean the question’s gone away. so what’s your name?”
“blithe.” i responded cooly. “now, if you’ll excuse me-“
“question two, can i get a table?”
“talk to the hostess.”
“okay, i’ll do that,” he said, sauntering towards the bar. “mind if i get a table man?” i heard the boy say.
“take your pick of any open one,” david said in response. “blithe, you comin’ up anytime soon,”
i walked up the remainder of the steps and gave david my typical disapproving expression. looking at the floor, the cigarette boy had picked one of my tables miraculously. i walked over to him, motioned at the specials and said, “know what you want?”
“what do you recommend?”
“i don’t recommend anything,” i responded, looking away. “i only eat vegan food.”
“oh, i see. in that case, i’ll get a steak sandwich with extra ‘shrooms and an Allagash.” he said smiling.
“can i see your id?” i asked, as was the protocol i was supposed to follow. he opened up his wallet and handed me the required item. looking down at it, i saw his name as sean jenkins- he was 23 years old, and lived a few streets over from my own house. i placed the piece of plastic on the table and walked away. i put in his orders and i stood at the end of the bar, looking upwards toward the tv. “blithe?” david questioned, “you gonna wait on that guy over at table four or not?”
“fuck off david,” i responded. picking up the allagash in my right hand. “where’s the lemon, asshole?”
“get it yourself, you’re more than capable.” david laughed. i picked the smallest lemon slice and stuck it on the rim of the overflowing glass.
“learn how to pour a drink.” i said walking away towards table four. placing down his allagash, i could feel his eyes staring through me.
“so blithe, how long you been working here?” sean questioned.
“scuse me?” i asked in avoidance. “three years.”
“yeah, thought you looked familiar. i’m sean by the way,” he smiled. “i’ve seen you around town, but i never knew who you were.”
“don’t talk to many people,” i said firmly. i began walking away, and then i heard the kitchen filling my order. the bustling kitchen for most is a fearful feat, but i was used to it. i knew how to manuever around the messes and the testosterone raging men. “what you up to tonight blithe-y?” the sous-chef inquired.
“none of your fuckin’ business,” i said back to him, pasting a fake smile on my face. the rest of the cooks hollered and laughed at this remark, and the sous-chef grimaced at my response. as i picked up the steak sandwich i was immediately sick to my stomach. it had been 21 years since consuming a piece of meet, and this steak looked especially discouraging. i called “out” again, as protocol, when leaving the kitchen and walked over to table four. i placed the steak in front of sean and observed a smile evolving on his pale thin face. “looks good blithe, send my compliments to the chef,” i heard him say. i nodded my head in disagreement, but made my way into the kitchen once again and relayed the compliment which was excepted with egotism. surely egotism that was not rightfully his, afterall, he worked in a local pub that wasn’t known for much other than being a local place. once in the next half and hour i asked sean how everything was, and was answered in a grateful manner. finally, he asked for the check and i brought it to him without hesitation. he paid in cash and then went into the bathroom before he left. i went outside as he was in the bathroom to smoke another cigarette, but soon, that break was also interrupted.
“hey blithe.” i heard approaching from behind. i spun around and sean was standing there, cigarette in hand, once again in need of a light. “think you can loan me your zippo again?” he asked.
“sure.” i responded, rolling my eyes, casually. i lit his cigarette and he smiled in appreciation.
i woke up the next morning with the taste of foreign skin still in my mouth. sean layed sleepily next to me, yawning, but slowly sitting up in bed. “blithe,” he smiled “morning,” he reached to my bedside table for a pack of american spirits and took two, and lit them, handing one to me. i smiled, sleepily, but i was still appreciative. i rummaged around my room for a shirt, and finally took up a flannel and put it on. sean remained in my bed, smoking his cigarette, smiling at me, and looking out my third floor apartment’s dusty window. i left the room, and walked into the whirlwind kitchen, and put on a pot of water. the cats butted up against the back of my legs, causing an involuntary flinch. i reentered my room, cups of tea in hand. as we layed in bed, sipping tea, sean looked over at me and asked, “any big dreams last night?”
my response? “bigger and more vivid than usual.”