Cathy

She’s at the counter again. Counting to ten-can’t stay idle too long or the boss will threaten her job.
She’s tired. This is her tenth day on. She’s been working long days and staying into the night-she needs the money. God, she needs the money.
She’s got a rowdy kid in the booth to her right. Her hands are on the counter-she’s got five more seconds. The kid throws a glass. Had five more seconds. She can’t hear the crash she just moves to pick it up. Robotic. She hates the feeling of the unconscious movement. The fact that she’s been a waitress going on too long now, it truly is automatic.
The mother of the kid catches her attention-she can’t hear a thing. It’s not alarming more of a Peanuts kind of thing-wah wah and all. She’s apologizing, at least, that’s what it looks like. The kid throws a napkin dispenser as her mother gasps in horror of her little angels actions. She continues to apologize then grabs her daughter by the wrist and sits her down.
The waitress sighs with a smile and a nod going to pick it up. She’s thinking it might be good to turn back on the sound now if only she had a choice. Today’s one of those days-there’s no choice.
Sometimes she wonders how the brain works, how days like this happen and how she’s managed to function without hearing the orders. She wonders a lot of things all at once before walking directly into her boss. His mushy barrel chest hitting her entire face. She’s not a small woman, but he’s a rather large, large man.
She backs up. He looks down stern face turns jovial and he laughs “lost again Cathy?” she can hear again. This doesn’t make her happy. She smiles and sighs thinking of what to say, obviously, too slow “that’s alright girl!” he grabs her shoulder, she shrugs, but he doesn’t let go “I need you to go to the back grab some more pies and display’em the new girls they don’t know how to make’em pop like you” she smiles, nods and walks past him as she does he swats her butt. Her face hardens.
The loud noise of the diner surrounds her as she’s reminded she needs this job. All the thoughts constantly working through her mind have found focus. Even if she wanted to fork the man’s eyes out, she just can’t today.
Passing through the double doors to the kitchen she walks toward the refrigerator, enters then quickly exits. “Goddamn it! Can we not fuck where the food is!?” the cooking staff just laughs having watched her walk in, knowing. “Seriously” she huffs stamping back out onto the floor. Shoving passed the double doors mumbling about the state of the world.
She smiles at the customers and nods to the other girls who all have smirks on their naive faces. They all knew who was getting hers from the recently released. She can’t help, but wonder what young girls see in post prison sex. Shaking her head the kid from before is at the register she smiles down at her. The small girl no more than six smiles while slowly raising up her hand displaying a proud middle finger. She smiles bemused and shakes her head.
She’s happier now, thinking that she needs the money for rent and not the parasite she gave up.
She goes back behind the counter starting back at ten peaceful-motherhood is for the birds.