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A Meal and a Job

A story of a woman's plight of hunger and un-employment. She paused at the restaurant window, wrapping her coat collar high around her neck, shielding herself from the windy gusts of the San Francisco Bay. She stood there, staring at the suckling pig that was roasting, impaled on a rotating spit, its golden-brown skin glistening as it exuded juices that dripped down into a waiting pan below.

She couldn't remember the last time that she had eaten a full meal. During the past few weeks, she had eaten only sandwiches, salads or sweets, but now, viewing this suckling pig had triggered an aching hunger within the pit of her stomach. Mentally, she counted the few dollars in her purse.

There was enough to pay one more month's rent and hopefully enough for bus fare to search for that ever elusive job. She deduced that after those expenses she would have about $46.00 remaining. "Oh, Dear God," she thought, "What am I going to do after my money is all gone?"

She desperately needed a job since her previous one had ended months earlier, after her employer had declared bankruptcy, an act that she hadn't been prepared for, one which had left her almost penniless. She'd left resumes every where she could, but to no avail. For the first time during adulthood, she was alone, terrified and desperate.

The only living relative that she had, was a distant cousin residing in Ohio. Her best friend and former room mate had recently married and had moved to New York with her new husband, and since there was no "prince charming" in her life, she was indeed alone.

Her eyes searched the menu that was neatly framed and posted on the restaurant's window. She noticed that the prices were equal to the elegance of this famous restaurant. She gasped as she read a selection from the menu:

Roasted suckling pig
Medley of carrots and green beans
Baked potato
Salad of mixed greens
Choice of dressings ...... $38.00

Saliva filled her mouth, causing her to gulp, uncomfortably. "This is crazy", she thought. "I can't afford this meal. What's wrong with me, for goodness sake?" Yet, she inhaled deeply, as if savoring the aroma of the roasting pig, but the only thing that filled her nostrils and lungs was the cold bay wind.

Her nostrils flared as her eyes watered at the realization of her futile longing. Backing away from the restaurant window, she turned and hurried down the busy street, away from the high rent district. Wiping the tears from her eyes and fighting the dull ache within her stomach, she headed for a destination approximately seventeen blocks away, a familiar little cafe nestled amongst a few apparel shops and a little bookstore. Fear gripped her as she forced thoughts of homelessness from her mind. She knew that if she didn't find a job soon, she would be at the mercy of the streets.

She had already sold most of her possessions, her nice clothing, jewelry and other belongings, in order to pay her rent. She had lost numerous other items in pawn shops, unable to redeem them, and now there seemed to be little hope of avoiding a dismal and alarming fate.

As she walked, she began to anticipate her forthcoming meal, envisioning the cafe menu which listed her usual selection:

Turkey, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich
plus coffee or tea, free refills.. $6.95

Although tired from the long walk, she quickened her steps in anticipation of the food. She could almost taste that sandwich! She now wondered if she could get free pickles and extra tomato with her order.

A frowning passerby stared at her, causing her to realize that she had voiced this question, aloud. She smiled nervously, in an effort to conceal her embarrassment.

She thought of Brittany and Alana, the waitresses at the cafe where the ambience was clean and simple, yet warm and inviting. They were both related to Sonny, the hard working owner and chef who had once hired her to work there for two weeks, while Alana was out of town, after which he had praised her efforts and had said that he would hire her again, if needed. However, there had been no need since. Now, it seemed to her, that all of her luck had completely run out. She wiped away the sudden tears that escaped her eyes.

She mentally envisioned herself seated in the cafe, savoring each bite of her juicy sandwich and enjoying the pleasing aroma of food, that drifted from the little kitchen. She liked this cafe and the adjoining bookstore that she often frequented. Somehow, they felt like home. They were the only "hang outs" that she could afford. Places where she could linger a while, relax and read and enjoy her meager repasts. The cafe was a welcoming little haven for her, one where the owner and waitresses were pleasant and friendly. She gave a sigh of relief as she entered the cafe's doors.

Immediately Brittany approached her frowning. "Hey, Where have you been? I tried to call you yesterday, but the phone number was no longer in service!" Before she could reply, her eyes again filled with tears and she began to cry, much to Brittany's bewilderment! Brittany embraced her and asked, "What on earth is the matter?" However, she could only cry, not being able to utter a single word.

Through her sobs, she was aware that customers were staring, but she couldn't stop. Suddenly, she became aware of Brittany's words. She stopped crying as she realized that Brittany was saying the most wonderful words that she had heard in a long time, words that vibrated in her ears, words that caused stabs of eery feelings within her stomach, yet soon filled her with those of relief and pure joy.

Brittany said tenderly, "Stop crying! I'm trying to tell you that we have a job opening starting next Friday and Sonny wants to offer you the position! He bought the little bookstore next door and needs someone with your business skills and personality, to manage it. More importantly, we all like you. You've become very dear to us. You're like family. Sonny says that you've got the job if you want it. Congratulations!"

Copyright © 2005 by Gwen Dickerson

story Information

Upload Date: 31/12/1969

Downloads: 1518

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