A week ago…
“But Mr.Martin, I had never once taken a holiday for the past 2 years,” I pleaded, but my employer did not seem to budge. I threw my arms up in the air, frustrated, “C’mon. You can’t fire me just because I took two days off. That too, for a legible cause. I was sick!” He harrumphed as he continued to dust the shelves for the fourth time.
“Please, Mr.Martin. I...I need this job”, I begged because this was the only way for me to pay my bills and pay the rent even though I was behind by a few months, but I was paying alright.
“You and your excuses. Laura told me-” he began his complaints but I rudely interrupted, “Laura? That...that good for nothing woman who shows her face once in a blue moon and gets the paycheck anyway. Her? You know she is a lying bitch”. I was seething by the end of my monologue. I was not unaware nor ignorant about Mr. Martin’s favour to that woman. They were clearly fucking around, but that wasn’t my business. I was mad because he opted to listen to her lies and not my genuine reasons.
“You won’t say a word against her!” my employer turned and glowered at me. I tried to rein in my anger and gulped down the injustice that was being done towards me.
“Mr. Martin please try to-” I began but he snapped, “Out. Now”.
Oh now he had done it now. “Alright, I am leaving. Let’s see who takes care of these books as well as I did. Also don’t think Laura is exclusively fucking you. She is sleeping around with others well. I hope this bookshop goes to the drain. I really do. You are an asshole”, and with that I turned on my heels and stormed out, leaving a gaping and furious bookshop owner.
Reality did not hit me like a brick wall as I stepped out. Oh no, it wouldn’t happen to me. That feeling of hopelessness had long since evaporated in me. Now I survived and found ways to survive . While I was ranting and being a petty human being to my ex-employer, I was processing ways to find a new job.
The dried leaves crunched under my worn-out sneakers clad feet. I pulled the ragged hoodie a little tighter, balling my fists a little deeper into the pockets. My mind veered back to the bookshop. I liked working there, not because my employer was a ray of sunshine, but I liked the smell of books, taking care of them and at times sneaking off during lunch hours to read a few pages of the new arrivals. I was hired because I was very well acquainted with books since I love them.
The customers were never disappointed and that kept Mr. Martin from getting rid of me. He was not fond of me at all because at times people thought that I was the owner and not him. I would still have that job if not for that Laura. I cursed her in thousands of expletives that I could recall.
I was drawn out of my thoughts as I heard a low jingle. I looked up to see a quaint little cafe on my left. It looked so aesthetic. I couldn’t help but walk inside. It was tucked away from the hubbub of the streets. The bel jingled as I pushed open the glass door. Soft jazz music played in the background. My eyes scanned the place. It was fairly crowded. I took a corner seat and sat down. This wasn’t in my plans but I felt tired and weary all of sudden. I sighed. It was just Monday and the 1st of the month and here I was sitting in a cafe literally jobless.
“Good morning ma’am, what would you like to have?” a cheerful voice pulled me out of my reverie. A girl of not more than 23 smiled down at me. I mustered a smile and asked, “What do you suggest?”
I guess she got this a lot so she promptly chirped, “Don’t mind my blabbering mouth but your face tells me you are in need of a large cup of latte and a bagel”. Her grin did not falter and I, too, realised that I hadn’t eaten my breakfast as I had rushed to work.
Before I ran my mouth and went with her suggestion I asked, “How much?”
She smiled this time, “Pay for the latte only, which is $2.50 and the bagel is on the house”. I nodded and once she got my approval with that, she waltzed away. I did mental math of the money that I would be left with after paying here. Do I need to tip them? It looked like an expensive cafe. I observed the customers, they all looked quite well-to-do unlike me.
I turned my gaze outside. As I watched the passersby, my thoughts went back to the days when I used to be carefree. Days when I didn’t need to worry about a month’s expenditure or the need to save up for later use. My thoughts took the forbidden turn, going back once again to my family who abandoned me….to him. Dominic Giovanni - the man whom I had foolishly married five years back. The one who left me deserted for another.
He must have even forgotten my existence now. Maybe I was just another blurred and forgotten face. My heart clenched at the thought. How he had become a superstar and was probably sweeping and charming ladies off their feet and here I was jobless, desolate and broken.