I went to Firehouse Subs today to get lunch for myself and two ladies at the office, Wanda and Audrey. Wanda had previously called the order in, so I paid for it and then stood around to wait. As the minutes ticked by, I inched closer to the front of the place and finally ended up sitting on a wooden bench.
A long time passed.
The busy restaurant quieted as the crowds thinned and dispersed. People came and picked up their orders and left. They still hadn’t called my name.
I was already confused, because I didn’t know if Wanda had called it in under her name or mine. I didn’t know if I had somehow missed them saying my name. I wondered what sort of priority my order had.
Finally I stood up and asked them.
The guy took my ticket and asked everyone behind the counter, until he got to the girl who’d taken my payment, down at the other end. “It’s right there!” she snapped in annoyance, as though it were perfectly obvious that my order would be sitting in a basket near the register, and that no one would have said anything to me about it. “She already paid for it,” the girl said in a milder voice.
“So why didn’t anyone call her?” the guy asked, sticking the receipt onto the bag and handing it to me.
“Thank you,” I murmured, embarrassed beyond belief. I didn’t wait to hear the rest of their conversation. I fled.
As soon as I was beyond the doors, I burst into tears. Plopping into my car, I cried and cried. The food had just sat there for almost half an hour. I hadn’t known where it would be. I should have figured it out, I thought, because of the signs. But no one called me. And that girl was so irritated. I was just a nuisance to her, an idiot customer with no idea what was going on.
Tears were rolling down my face as I headed back onto Washington Road. Without thinking about it too much, I turned into R. Gabriel’s parking lot. I think Mr. Beret–the bearded guy who’s always there, and who wears a beret and glasses, and whose name I unfortunately do not know–could tell I was crying. It was pretty freaking obvious. I got myself a nonfat blueberry banana smoothie, and I got a mocha frappe for Wanda. I managed to stop crying, but if I let myself think about what had happened at Firehouse Subs too much, I’d find my face screwing up and my eyes burning.
I wasn’t myself back at the office, where I handed out subs and munched mine quietly. I was friendly, but I felt out of place, and I really just wanted to run and hide. Even now, the most appealing place to me is under the covers. I want to go climb into bed at this very moment.
My head feels heavy and hazy and full of painful pressure. My eyes are dry, and I just want to go to sleep and pretend that lunch never happened.