He’ll show up to work with a swollen eye.
“Looks like some girl’s boyfriend caught up to you,” you’ll say.
“He did,” he’ll say. “Yours.”
You don’t remember a thing. A few of you had rounds in the kitchen after you closed the restaurant last night, then you and he went to a bar to have a few rounds more. You vaguely remember arriving at the bar.
“You took me home?” you’ll ask.
“I didn’t think you would have gotten there otherwise,” he’ll say.
He’ll shake his head.
“Did you try?”
He’ll say he didn’t get the chance. “You were on me by the time the door closed on the cab. I pushed you off and you went to sleep.”
He carried you into your apartment and tucked you in. Your boyfriend was waiting outside when he left.
“He followed us,” he’ll say.
“He doesn’t trust me. He follows me home from work,” you’ll say. “Because he knows I’m in love with you.”
“Godammit, we’re waiters,” he’ll say. “These diners are counting on us. How are we supposed to deliver their dinner if your heart’s getting in the way?”
“But if we weren’t?” you ask. “Waiters I mean.”
He laughs. “Might as well ask if the sky wasn’t blue. If up was down.”
A table for four arrives. You consider just throwing down your apron, walking out the door and waiting for him, waiting on the sidewalk for him to come out and love you.
But you see their faces. They’re hungry. They need you. And if you turned away from them, would he follow?
He’ll give you a look. “That’s your section.”
You’ll tear your gaze away from his. You’ll walk to the table, pulling your check pad out of your shirt pocket, the one right next to your heart.
Happy A Swollen Eye Day!