Millie worked in a tavern, in the Southland, where she’d managed by virtue of longevity, to climb to the heights of waitressing, in that there was no one on staff who had worked there as long as she, in any capacity. She was not proud of that fact, because most people who ended up working there, did so as a temporary means, waiting to move on to something better.
But for Millie that something better had never materialized. She was close to home; she could count on the mid-afternoon lull, to run and pick up Ricky from school, and get him to the sitter’s, and she didn’t have to do anything, in order to keep it all functioning. For her to obtain "something better,” she would have to consider a myriad of concerns, to even begin to make a change. No, no changes this week, thank you, she thought to herself. If there was going to be a change, it was going to come in the form of a change in marital status.
She’d had another row with Richard, and this time he’d hinted around that there was change coming. She’d like to see change all right. She’d like to see him spend less time out with his buddies, and more time with Ricky, but every time she brought that subject up, she got the “ball-buster” bit. Just once, she like to leave testicles out of the conversation. It might make for the interesting observation, that there was nothing especially testicular about tossing a ball back and forth with his kid, or taking him to his cub scout meetings. That’s what dads were supposed to be doing. Instead, Richard was too much like a father.
Millie’d just come back from her school run one weekday, and made sure that it was all good with the owner, and looked forward to seven o’clock, when she got sprung to go home and play mom.
A man entered the tavern from the side door, an indication that he’d parked out back, and made his way along the far side. He had a casual set of slacks on, and a polo shirt, with a baseball on the pocket. He was certainly her age, pushing forty, and he appeared fit and trim, as though he took the time to exercise properly, or maybe he worked in the trades.
I wonder if he likes kids. It seems as though he might. He looks as though he could keep up with Ricky, but I don’t know. Ricky can get pretty wound up...
Larry came through the entrance of the bar and grill, noting the woman with the careworn face, who still had the ability to muster up a pleasant smile, and indicate that he could sit at the bar, or grab the table of his choice. He opted for the counter, and plopped himself down while she fetched a menu and a glass of water. It was still early for the dinner rush.
She looks like she could listen to a man, when he tried to tell her something. She looks like she’d be comfortable going camping at the shore in the summer, and she might even like to go for walks on the beach, in the early morning light.
“Thanks, Miss, I can tell you right now that I don’t need a menu. I’d like a turkey sandwich on any kind of French bread or roll; drag it through the garden. Add some some fries, and a garden salad with bleu cheese dressing, and a diet coke.”
Larry was on his own again for dinner, his wife out with her gal pals, something that was beginning to occur with alarming regularity. Besides, she always poked fun at his clothes, his hair, and said he just was not chic enough for her friends. Larry had breathed an internal sigh of relief. Still, it made for their paths spreading farther apart, no longer remotely on parallel tracks. She spent money like dogs peeing on their morning walks, enthusiastically and everywhere. Sydney could never work at a place like this; she might spill salad dressing on her high heels. No, Sydney worked for a fashion magazine, and that was part of his downfall. He couldn’t stand to crack the cover of it. It was like being in church, while your Christmas presents are waiting back home to be opened. Agony.
He knows what he wants, when he comes into a restaurant, and he doesn’t need three of his buddies to help him drink a half-dozen pitchers of beer.
He glanced at a Sporting Green, as he waited for his meal, keeping a casual, though observant, watch on his wait-person. It was not crowded, so she kept busy getting everything in place so that she would not have to scramble when the pace picked up. He noticed that she knew her job, and that others came to her for guidance. It was obvious that she had been here for a while. Sydney got bored with her jobs, as soon as the clothes she was wearing, grew out of style. She said she just hated working in the same place for too long, because then people got to know her too well, whatever that was supposed to mean. Anyway, he had a feeling he understood what she was saying, but did not want to admit that fact.
She is efficient; she doesn’t waste time on unnecessary steps. I bet she knows how to balance a checkbook. I bet she knows how to stay within a budget. Probably has to.
“Here you go. Can I get you anything else here? Freshen up your diet coke?” She waited, expectantly.
“No, this is great.” He glanced appreciatively at her, and gave her a lopsided smile. “I may have to have some of that apple pie, when I get through with this. Can you check back with me first, so that I can make sure I still have room? And Miss, may I have some vanilla ice cream with that?” The lopsided smile again.
How does he do that smile thing? He is looking better and better. And he keeps calling me Miss. lol, Miss! I wonder what he’s doing here, if he is new in town. Oh, what difference does it make?
She found, though, that it did make a difference, in the way she felt. It had been a long time since she felt as though Richard cared. All he cared about was the bar scene, and whatever that entailed. She thought again about the changes he had hinted were coming. Bring ‘em on; with available hombres like the one at station seven, she saw no worries ahead.
Damn, she’s good with those wild men back there chugging the beer. Looks as though she has been down that road before. Sydney would be scared shitless to even deal with them. They are not refined enough for her tastes. I may have to put this place on my regular list, for when Sydney leaves me hanging. And he glanced around at Millie still yet again, a fact that was not missed by her.
She had to take a break, but she was afraid the second she went back to the restroom, he would skedaddle, not that he wasn’t going to anyway, but she wanted to be there when he did. It was a stalemate, with her bladder suddenly determining once and for all, that she could no longer ignore the issue.
When she peeked back at him, one quick glance, he was still immersed in the Sporting Green. It was now or never, so she dashed.
And found upon her return, that her worst fears were realized. His table was empty, and there was a twenty dollar bill to cover a twelve dollar meal. She wanted to scream out that it wasn’t fair, but then she asked herself, what it was that wasn’t fair. All she could say was, it wasn’t fair that Ricky had no one to throw a baseball to, in the back yard, as the Dodgers game played on the radio in the background. And she went back to wash her face in the hot water of the restroom sink.
Oh well, it’s only life, she thought, and life goes on, with or without someone to play ball with Ricky.
When she stopped by the cashier’s station, Millie asked about the guy, and Candace told her that he had been in a hurry, talking into his phone in a very tense manner, as though he wished he were back in his booth, with his apple pie and vanilla ice cream.
So he got a phone call, and had to leave. I wonder what that was all about. I’ll never know, I guess. Probably he thought I was an old bag anyway, and he has some chic babe that was waiting for him to get home. Besides, for me to obtain something “better,” I would have to consider a myriad of concerns, to even begin to make a change. No, no changes this week, thank you. Oh well, wasn’t meant to be.
Larry was pissed off as usual. Sydney had been abandoned by one of her asinine friends, a man with a sudden penchant for the wife of a prominent community personage, and she’d been unceremoniously abandoned. Now he had to traipse off to some part of town, he was unfamiliar with, and try to find her, when that was the last thing he wanted to do.
Well, she must have a good thing going already, don’t they all? I mean, I never seem to have the timing down. Well, it doesn’t matter now. Besides, if she were remotely interested in me, why did she disappear so abruptly, just when I got the stupid phone call? Oh well, wasn’t meant to be.