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  • I wasn’t even old enough to work.
    Barely tall enough to see over the top of a table and into a mug.

    She saw me making waffle cones one summer when i was 13,
    And asked me if I’d rather work next door instead.
    So I went.
    10 years.
    The longest job I ever had.
    When I started my only job was to see if folks wanted more. Coffee or tea? I’d ask, a full pot in each hand.
    “Yes” they’d say…and leave it up to me to figure out which.

    Women who fought with their husbands but who talked to me so sweet.
    The one guy who only liked his eggs basted.
    The other one who stole toilet paper from the bathroom.
    Men in business meetings who just didn’t want to be asked anything at all.
    Europeans who were used to a single egg and a piece of toast who I knew didn’t understand what we served and who wouldn’t leave a tip.
    The regulars.
    The irregulars.

    I’d take their orders, even when they didn’t know what they were asking for and tried to bring them what they wanted, even when they couldn’t say it.

    The blue apron that i grew into over ten years
    The Mexican transvestite in the kitchen.
    The coffeecake crumbs in my pockets with all the 1s and the occasional fives.
    The former classmates wearing suits and ties who’d come in for business lunches that I’d hide from behind the smoothie bar or, if they were in my section, make excuses to, saying that it was just a stepping stone after college. That I was on my way somewhere else soon.

    And I did, kind of.
    I had jobs in offices making tons of money at points.
    And I quit.
    I quit to go back to be close to tables of people.
    And to listen to them, all of them,
    Even when they didn’t know what to say.
    Especially when they didn’t know what to say.
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