Here we go again. Another shitty week in Paradise. How come Sundays go so fast? At least Emma’s managed to drag herself out of whoever’s bed she’d woken up in. I can’t believe that girl. I mean, more power to her as long as she’s happy and nobody gets hurt, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it when I was her age and I certainly couldn’t do it now. Then again, where would I meet someone? The clubs are starting to get too loud for me now and the guys there all look like little boys. Where are the men these days? God, listen to me. I’m only three years older than Emma, I sound like my mother!
Emma’s only been here about two months, but it seems like we’ve known each other for years. We share the same sense of humour – I think that’s so important when you’re working in a small team - and the same taste in men. We could be sisters. The only real difference between us is that when she sees a guy she finds attractive, she has the confidence to do something about it. I could never do that. In my entire life I’ve only once asked a man out, and even then we were both too drunk to do anything about it. Guess I’m not going to change now. I might as well buy a cat. Or six. At least then I’d have something breathing to come home to, rather than the news and a frozen dinner from Sainsbury’s “Sad Meals for Lonely Saddoes” range. Sometimes I buy a larger one, one of their “Sad Meals for Sad Couples”. I usually end up throwing half of it away but at least it looks like I’ve got a friend. How sad is that?
Eight twenty. Something’s different today. It took a while but I finally realised it was the tall guy who usually sits in the window at table twenty-six. He’s not there. Funny, I can’t remember him missing a weekday breakfast without warning before. He usually tells us when he’s going on holiday. It’s always amazed me how he can eat such a large breakfast every day and yet still be in such good shape. He must work out a lot. Always the same order - sausage sandwich, black coffee, and a fruit bowl. Twenty-six. The guy with the lovely smile.
Hope he’s OK.
It was about five to eight this morning when I realised I was watching the clock, waiting to see if he would come in. The dark haired guy at table twenty-six who always comes in just after eight. By quarter past I was sure that he wouldn’t be in today either. I mentioned to Emma that he’d missed two days now. She decided that she preferred twenty-six’s current occupant better. The fat, bald guy with halitosis and two slices of dry toast. I just looked at her with one eyebrow raised as high as I could arch it. Inevitably we both developed an attack of the giggles. The latest twenty-six looked over to see what was so funny and we naturally collapsed with laughter again. Very mature. The funny thing is, I’d bet my weeks wages that she’s been with guys that were far worse than him. Call her what you like – and I have, many times - but the girl sure knows how to enjoy life.
It’s funny how quickly you get used to your customers. I guess around three-quarters of ours are regulars, the same faces turning up at the same time every day. They tend to sit at the same tables with the same orders each time too. Some of them might be a bit dull but most of them are great. Like the guy that’s usually at twenty-six. Perhaps he’d found someone new to make his breakfast. I hope not.
Excuse me? “I hope not”? Where had that come from? It was a bit of a surprise to find that I was actually missing him. I smiled to myself. A little old for crushes aren’t we, honey?
I love my Wednesdays off, it splits the week up nicely. I know it might seem weird to lots of people, but I leave the alarm clock set the same as the rest of the week so that I don’t waste any of my “me time”. Even if it’s just lying in bed listening to the radio, it’s a luxury that I don’t have when I’ve got to be at ‘Janey’s’ for 6:45.
It’s a stupid name really. There is no “Janey”, never has been. The two owners, Dennis and John, thought that having a woman’s name over the door gave it “that personal touch, like having a meal at your auntie’s”. I don’t know about that, I thought it was Emma and me that made it personal. More like having a meal at a gay couple’s place, served by a sarcastic waitress, that’s what I think. We’re always busy though, so whichever one of us is right, it’s working, at least.
Anyway, a quick tidy round and off we go to The Crossroads. It’s not the biggest mall I’ve been in, but it’s nearby, it’s safe and it’s got a Starbucks. That’ll do for me. I really should stay home and clean the bathroom, God knows it needs it, things are going to start crawling out of the shower on their own soon, but every girl needs a bit of retail therapy from time to time, right? So I went to The Crossroads and shopped ‘til I dropped. And I mean that literally.
I’m not one of those girls who buys clothes just for the sake of it, or just because they look nice on me. I have to have a purpose. These shoes will be great for work, this skirt will be nice for going out in, that kind of thing. I’ve always done it like this, even when I was little, though sometimes if it’s a really special item I can stretch the definition of “purpose” quite thin. But this time I surprised myself. This time I found myself thinking, “I wonder if he’d like me in this”.
It was just as I was trying on a sparkly top, pulling at the hem to see exactly how much of my stomach it didn’t cover. It hit me so hard that I had to sit down.
“I wonder if he’d like me in this”.
I was shopping to please him. I hadn’t done that since I first started seeing Damon, and look where that got me. In hospital with a black eye and a fractured rib, that’s where. I’ll not be making that mistake again. But surely twenty-six isn’t like Damon, is he? Surely he’s better than that?
Even Emma’s not going to hear about this.
Copyright Shaun Finnie 2015