“What? You sad?” I quickly turned away from Brant’s patronizing tone, wiping the tears away with the back of my hand. “Well this will make you feel better.”
I spun around to see him holding out two dirty, crinkled, sad dollar bills.
“What the –”
“Your tip,” he said, his lips curling up into an evil grin. The things I would do to him. The things I would do to never see him again.
I snatched the two dollar bills and hurried over to the kitchen window, peering out to the main room. There they were. Slowly getting up from their table, still talking loudly, still laughing obnoxiously, as if they ran this whole goddamned place. As if they didn’t just make a 17 year old girl cry because she failed to tell the chef the burger was supposed to be medium, not medium rare. As if they didn’t just call me stupid, and incompetent, and irresponsible, and worthless.
My nostrils flared, watching them go. Honestly, I didn’t know I was capable of such anger. I pressed my shaking hands tightly to my thighs and narrowed my eyes at them. The wife was bending down, slowly, lethargically, to pick up her purse. The image of her face, crumpled in disgust, of the spit flying from her mouth as her insults filled the restaurant, made my own face grow hot.
And then –
The water glass shattered. Right there on her table, it burst into a thousand little pieces. Even from behind the kitchen door I could hear her scream. Of surprise, probably, but I wished it was of pain. Brant pushed past me and entered through the door. As it swung to close I caught it, hearing him put on his best customer service voice, apologizing over and over, the way he was always does with every customer. Customer is always right, staff is always wrong. In Brant’s world, at least.
The woman was howling now, and as I poked my head out, all I could see was her hand pressed firmly to her eye. The husband, the same man who minutes before made a showing of putting down two dollars on the table as my tip for their $75 meal, was frozen in the doorway, his large mouth hanging open.
And then –
A second glass, this one close enough to nick Brant. He jumped up, pushing away from the woman, away from the table. I couldn’t stop myself, I walked forward into the main room, the shards of glass twinkling like stars on the carpet. My eyes trailed up to find Marissa, the other waitress on shift, standing calmly outside the restrooms in the corner. She found me with her eyes, and winked. I watched as her pointer finger and thumb finger touched one another and snapped. I watched as the tablecloth started to burn.
Cover photo from Insider