I look down at the tip in my hand from my shift and feel nothing but misery. $130 in tips and it’s just barely enough to cover some of my living expenses. I can pay my phone bill and get a few groceries, but everything else will have to wait.
“Fudge.” I run my fingers through my hair trying to figure out what went wrong tonight. I’d worked my butt off for 12 hours and this is all I get. I can’t survive two weeks on this. I was supposed to get an oil change on my car, but that’s going to have to wait. What the fuck am I going to do?
“Hey, Lina, you are done for the night?”
Turning to look over my shoulder, I see my boss, Phil coming over to where I’m sitting. He’s mean sometimes, but when no one is around he’s nice to me since I’m the youngest here.
When near, he takes a seat next to me.
“Yeah, I’m done. Just going over my tips.”
“What’s the total?” He asks, running his fingers over his nearly bald head.
“130.” I shake my head, folding the money up and sliding it in my back pocket.
“Sorry kid. You know how it is in this old bar. There are good nights and there are bad nights.”
I’ve been working at this bar for over a year and there have been more bad nights than good. On a normal night, I get groped by men twice my age. I get beer spilled on me at least once. I have been called nearly every name in the book, but I haven’t quit. I can’t afford to. With my salary and tips, I’m just barely making it.
“Yeah, I understand.” I shoot Phil a smile, noticing how sleepy he looks. It’s a quarter past 3 and the last stragglers are just leaving. The other bartender has left for the night, but I always stay to help clean up. I also stay to watch after Phil.
5 months ago after I’d left for the night, these thugs broke in and robbed the place. They knocked Phil around a bit and busted up a few things. Since then, I just linger around to make sure he’s okay.
“You’ll do better tomorrow night. I feel it in my bones.”
Cutting my eyes at him, I snort. “You feel the rain in your bones even if it’s 70 and sunny. I don’t think I trust your bones anymore.”
Phil chuckles loudly and pats my back. “When it comes to you, my bones are right. Now come on, let’s get out of here. I’ll walk you to your car.”
After shutting off the lights and locking up, we leave at the same time, heading in different directions.
When I get home to my tiny apartment, I creep into assure that I don’t wake my roommate Blaire. I make my way to the kitchen for something to eat and when I open the fridge, I see a turkey sandwich in saran wrap with a sticky note on top.
Hope work went well. Here’s a snack -B
Blaire has always been the mothering type to me. She’s only 5 years older than me but thinks of herself as my older sister. She gives me curfews and bedtimes. She even lectures me when I make bad decisions. It gets annoying at times, but I know it’s out of love. In her mind, she’s keeping me innocent.
Smiling to myself, I take the sandwich out and fix a glass of wine before flopping on the sofa to watch whatever is on at this time of the night.
I quickly kick my shoes off my aching feet and prop them up on the coffee table as I turn the tv on, lowering the volume. This was the only time of the night I got some peace and quiet besides when I’m sleeping. As tired as I am, I just like to sit here for a moment and reflect on the day while I eat.
I know my life isn’t what it’s supposed to be, but I try to remain positive and healthy. I exercise and drink lots of water as well as a glass of red wine every night. I do yoga from YouTube videos and try to keep up on my doctor appointments. It’s hard sometimes. I want to give up almost every day, but I push the negativity out and keep going.
After finishing my sandwich and wine, I shuffle to my room. Stripping from my beer-stained clothes, sleep weighs heavily on me. I don’t know how much longer I can take this. Working my butt off for bad pay isn’t what I saw for myself at 20, but then again, life has been throwing me bad hands for quite some time now. I should no longer be surprised.
5 hours later, I wake to the smell of soap lingering under my nose. I try to hold onto my sleep, but my eyes open against my will. After the blurriness subsides, I see Blaire in a towel, standing at my open closet.
“What are you doing?” I croak.
“I need a shirt for work.” She looks over her shoulder at me, but her hands keep moving through my clothes.
“You have shirts.”
“I know, but I want to switch it up and borrow one of yours.” She talks as if we wear the same size. At 25, her body is a lot womanlier than mine. My clothes fit me since I’m toned, but on her, she fills them with curves and bigger breasts A few seconds later, she pulls out a black sleeveless blouse with black lace on the front.
“Perfect.” Perfect for her means finding a shirt that she knows makes her boobs look good.
“I better get that back.” I groan as I roll over to go back to sleep. I try to never wake up before noon.
Unfortunately, Blaire just doesn’t understand that concept. Flopping down on the edge of my bed, she leans back against my headboard. “So how was work?”
“It was work. Now let me sleep.”
“How much did you make?” She asks, picking up a piece of my hair and even though I don’t see her, I know she’s checking for split ends.
“That’s it?” She turns around, shocked.
“Mhm. It was a bad night.” I run my fingers through my hair, sighing.
“Well, whatever I make tonight, I’ll split with you.”
Blaire works a fancy restaurant. Her tips are always better than mine. I’ve considered working there, but the manager is a guy I used to date a few years ago when I was in high school and sex was something I wasn’t doing. It didn’t end well and I’d hate to be around him for 12 hours. While we dated, he always tried to pressure me into sleeping with him when I didn’t want to. When it got uncomfortable, I broke it off with him. Blaire doesn’t know and I’d like to keep it like that. I don’t need her punching him in the face and losing her job over me.
“You don’t have to Blaire. I’ll be fine. Tonight, will be better. Now, please let me sleep. I’m exhausted.”
Blaire kisses the back of my head and gets up. “Sleep well, my little Lina. I made you lunch. It’s in the fridge.”
“Thank you, now leave.”
After she leaves, I fall back to sleep, peacefully.
My alarm goes off at noon and I roll over feeling like the few hours I got just wasn’t enough. Getting up, I put on a pair of yoga pants and a sports bra. Setting up in the living room, I open my laptop and get on YouTube for my afternoon yoga. No matter how tired I am, I never skip this. It set the tone for the rest of my day.
I’m no professional at yoga. Heck, I’m not even very good at it, but I’ve gotten better at holding more of the difficult poses.
By the time I’m done, I’m sweating and my blood is flowing.
With my energy up, I quickly shower and eat the lunch Blaire make me, which is just a grilled chicken and spinach salad.
As I eat, I go through my phone and check my emails. I don’t have many friends so my phone doesn’t get a lot of attention, I barely date so I have no potential suitors. I just don’t have time for any of that. On my off days, I’m usually sleeping. Every now and then, Blaire drags me out and makes me shop and get mani/pedis with her. Other than that, I’m a total hermit which is fine with me. I’ve never been big on having a social life or romance life for that matter. I don’t sleep around or have one night stands. I’ve only ever had sex with one person and that was last year. Maybe I’m just meant to be a lonely old woman.
When it gets closer to 3:00 I finish getting ready in the bathroom. As a Bartender who works mainly for tips, it helps to put a little extra effort into how I look. I always wear something that shows a bit of cleavage. Tonight, it’s a simple black V neck dress with and my black Converse. I put loose curls in my hair and a little makeup before gathering my things. Tonight is going to be a long night.