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100 Waitresses

From a work-in-progress called 100 Waitresses:

When the waitress brings me the bill she sucks in her cheeks like a super-model and shakes her shoulders from side to side, “Good music tonight”, she says.

George Michael is playing.

Freedom.

I like her, although I am not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s because she’s wearing a grey t-shirt just like the one you had. Maybe that’s all there is to it. Maybe I like her because the grey t-shirt she’s wearing connects me to you, helps me to draw a line back to your body.

At the table next to me sits a couple. The man has thick fingers and puffy eyes, and the woman is skinny and looks reflexively defensive, like she’s used to evading attack. They are speaking slowly, as if English were their second language, but it’s not. They’re just drunk and concentrating, trying to summon something true from their well of hurt. He looks into his glass and then up into her wary eyes, “There is something about you I have been missing so much,” he says.

And the waitress, looking from side to side at the nearly empty pub, sighs as I dig out my credit card to pay the bill. I ask her why the heavy sigh. She tells me that it’s been a long day.

And then there is a pause, and in that moment the space between us fills with something.

It’s sadness.

It’s desire.

And we look at one another, our invisible lives inching closer now, everything closer.

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