The dishwasher sanitizer mocks me with its annoying sound. Scratches and dents age the machine, making it look older than it actually is. It takes at least three tries to shut the machine, each time slamming it harder than the last. I wish the machine would just break down so that they would have to get a new one. To the right of the sanitizer stands me, sweaty and smelling of bleach and onions. A dirty green apron that probably hasn’t been washed in a month or so is tied around my body. My hands are shriveled and aching from a night of scrubbing cheese off of soup bowls. It seems as though this day will never end. The clock reads 8:30 pm, thirty minutes until closing time. I finish washing the dishes, and slam the sanitizer down one last time. Once the nasty, wet food filled sinks are cleaned, I make my way outside to take all of the trash out. The rusty trash cart holds five full trash bags, and surrounding it is at least five more.
Taking a deep breath, I begin the journey to the dumpster. My hands cramp from how tight I’m holding the handle bar. Halfway to the destination mark, I realize this would have been easier if I had made two trips. There is no time for another trip, I just want to go home. Rolling my eyes, I continue pushing the heavy cart with all my might all the way to the dumpster. The wheels squeaking from all of the weight. The cart comes to an abrupt stop as I reach the dumpster. I divide the bags into the least heaviest to the most heaviest. I lift the lightest bag, throwing it in with ease. Psh, I’ll be out of here in no time. I continue this routine of throwing the bags into the dumpster, one by one. Until finally, the last bag lays in a lump on the cart because its too heavy to hold itself up. With all of my strength, I barely lift the bag up before it falls back on the cart. Making an ugh sound, I contemplate just leaving the unliftable bag by the trash can. But I my ego is too big and I have too much pride to not finish the job. I should ask for help. I shake my head. They’ll just laugh that I’m too weak, I have to do this. My grunts sound like screams as I try to lift the bag. Finding strength that I’ve never had before, the bag almost going into the dumpster. In a second the bag rips wide open, all of its components spilling out everywhere. I start to hyperventilate and curse under my breath. Running back to the kitchen, I explain to my coworkers what had just occurred outside. They’ll help me out right? Laughing, one of my coworkers hands me a pair of gloves and says to go pick it up by myself. Thanks for all the help guys. Defeated, I trudge back out the door, tears now starting to brim in my eyes. This is officially the worst night of my life.
Smells of yesterday's fish special and other unknown foods fill my nose. My nose begs me to go anywhere else but here, and with a more pleasant smell. I crouch down and scoop up the trash and put it in a new trash bag. “Stupid coworkers, karma will hit you in no time,” I say to myself. Limes that had been juiced out earlier litter the ground. Random pieces of leftover meat are scattered about. Expired salmon soup floods the ground around me, including chunks of fish. Part of me just wants to say screw it and go home. But the other part of me knows that if I don’t pick all of this trash up, I will be in huge trouble. Continuing to weep, I pick up the trash. A gust of wind causes me to look up, as a group of customers exit out the door. They immediately notice me, point, and start to laugh. I am humiliated, absolutely humiliated. I will never live this down.
Right now I want to pack my bags and flee to Canada. My eyes are puffy, my face red and tear stained. Ignoring the laughing customers, I finish picking up the trash. I throw the bag into the dumpster throwing my dignity and self-confidence with it. Never again will I ever take out the trash. Walking back into the kitchen, I avoid everyone’s eyes and continue to clean the kitchen. The smell of the trash still haunts my nose. Please make this stop. Not taking my eyes off the floor, I begin to mop. The song playing is “My Happy Ending” by Avril Lavigne. This song has been the anthem of my summer because it's always playing when I’m at work. “All this time you were pretending, so much for my happy ending,” Avril sings. Well Avril, I am not getting my happy ending either.