Business As Usual | Teen Ink

April 27, 2008

Business as usual. The Sunday tide rolls through with a dull in and out. Uneventful at best. Then, ding! The signal from the bell above our door, that I usually dread, announces the arrival of his mother, and him. What are the chances? What are the chances during my second shift ever, he would waltz in for dinner? I start to calculate the impossibility in my head, then he smiles at me.
I start over.

I quit the calculations as he makes his way to the counter. But, what with the number of possible choices for dinner in this town, I pretty safely conclude the chances are at about 1 in 10 thousand…no, 50,000.

He sports his well worn out, no, well broken in navy hat. Since the dawn of time there has never been a hat that looked so natural in any season with any out fit. I, meanwhile, am making a lovely statement in my plastic “sandwich-artist’s” gloves. Since the dawn of time there has never been a statement made more clearly than by an over-sized orange polo and plastic gloves.

I subconsciously long for this moment to last forever. Life would be good if the only customer we ever had was him. I could watch him walking towards me all day long. As long as I kept my mouth shut and pretended he thought I looked cute in orange, it would make the perfect eternal moment.

I welcome myself back to reality to smile at his mom. Although, maybe I was smiling back, I don’t know- half of what I do around here is smiling back.
She asks me how my summer has been;
Good how about yours? Yeah it has been going by fast, doesn’t it always?
We laugh. When the question of her easy exchange with me presents itself, I fall out of the conversation world in a thoughtful stupor:

Adequate version: she is a mom being friendly and making polite conversation with the nice girl behind the counter.

Practical version: she is a mom who could see that her son knew the nice girl behind the counter, thus made polite and friendly conversation.

Reasonable version: she is a mom who recognized the nice girl behind the counter as a girl from school events who has been previously noticed conversing with her son, therefore thought it natural to strike up friendly conversation.

Fantasy version: she is a mom who, upon seeing her son smile at the girl behind the counter, mentally identifies her, by name, as the girl who is so obviously the object of her son’s affection (made clear by the countless stories her son has blushed through about her.) So she welcomingly makes friendly conversation and notes how she is wearing his favorite color.

Once I have come back to reality that navy hat is on hits way out the door. Have a nice summer, she says. I hear: He wore that hat for you.