-This is something I started to write in chunks when my life changed completely…I have decided to share it, something only a few people know about. Something I am sharing the same way it was written…in chunks-
I was jolted out of Tim’s parents bed at what should have been 9:30 in the morning but ended up to be 9:03. The night before I was to drunk to figure out the alarm clock and had a hard time reaching over Tim’s naked body without inflicting some sort of pain to him. That night Tim and I had drank away a few bottles of Sutter Home White Zin and rekindled the “love” that we had experienced a month before. The two of us realized what was going to happen the second we saw each other. It was a mutual understanding, an exchange of the eye, the tension was unbelievable. The night was full of drinking, kissing, sucking, and touching. While the next morning seemed like a blur, driving home was unbearable. The constant feeling of nausea and the bitter taste of coffee was overwhelming.
I pulled into the parking lot of TGI Friday’s and all I could think is, shit today is going to suck, I can’t be here for a double shift! I lit up a cigarette as I turned my car off and rolled up the windows. It was insanely hot, but I loved driving with the windows down, And always hated AC. I had to ring a bell to get into the side door of the restaurant because we weren’t open that early. The bartenders always took their sweet time, like it was a ridiculous request to have them come and open the door that was just in the back of the bar! I had finished my cigarette and had called my mother to inform her that yes I was alive and yes I was at work, and the door had yet to be opened. Finally James came around the corner and opened the door. Great the last person I wanted to see right now.
“Rough morning eh shithead!?” James screamed in my ear as he pushed my head so hard that it smacked against my own shoulder.
“Gee thanks Jimboy, great to see you too.” I answered without losing my pace, he hates that nickname.
I got to the bathroom and changed into my uniform, still stained from my shift two days before. I put my headphones in, turned on Bloc Party, and started to open the restaurant.
The rest of the day was a blur. Typical Friday’s, slow but busy at the same time, a constant two or three tables, and each and every person needed something at some point. I was constantly moving until 2 o’clock rolled around. The restaurant cleared out at the snap of a finger. I hadn’t had a table for nearly an hour when finally Megan cut the back room and I was free to leave early. To hungover to start my side work, I finished cleaning my sections and ordered some food. A nice big juicy Turkey Burger, the perfect hangover fix. My food came out and I had never eaten something so fast, it was like I hadn’t been fed in days. I told myself the only way I would get out of here and sleep was if I finished everything fast. So I thought I’d start off easy and do my silverware first.
During the days any given server had to roll 25 pieces of silverware. During the nights it was 50 a person. When I first started working at Fridays, this was the worst part of the shift, it took me forever to roll ten! Once I figured out a system, it took me 10 or 20 minutes to do 50 and damn was I proud about it. I was a machine, at the end of the night when I would close I could bust out 150 in no time. But today I wasn’t having it. My entire life seemed to be in slow motion. My movements were ten times slower than normal and it sucked.
Jenn came over to do her silverware as well, and I pushed over to give her room. Jenn lived in Plainville but went to school down in Florida. She was back for the summer and she decided to work in Norwood, something I never understood. Jenn and I have a mutual friend from Middle School, and we meet once or twice when were about 13. It was funny on her first day here early in the summer, we realized who each other were and talked about how stupid we were when we were kids. Regardless she was right next to me and her hands were trembling as she tried to roll her piece of silverware for the second time. I looked up at her and my eyes caught hers, she darted back at her silverware.
“Everything okay babe?” I asked trying to sound as gay as possible just incase she didn’t know and thought something else.
“Yeah…well no, ahhh I don’t know I have never had to tell anyone something this big, I don’t know how to word it and I’m scared to even say anything” Jenn blurted out in 2 seconds.
“Wow okay well you know you can tell me anything.” I said with the voice but this time there was a hint of trepidation. I thought to myself What the hell is this girl going to tell me? I don’t know anything about her…
“Yeah I know, this is just really difficult.” Her eyes meeting mine again, this time I was the one to dart away.
“Well it’s about my sister Heather.” (I give her the ‘go-ahead nod’) “Well her father. Wait your dad’s name is Scott right? Scott Downey?” (again with the approving head nod) “Heather’s dad is also your father.”
My heart dropped for a second and then slipped back into place.
With a nervous laugh I asked “What?” assuming it was a joke.
“Yeah…Your dad got my mother pregnant in high school and well yeah.”
The next ten minutes-half an hour-an hour, I really don’t know how long, was full of questions and answers. I think it hadn’t hit me yet. The intensity of the situation. It had taken me a while to believe Jenn, I still didn’t. Or maybe it was that I didn’t want to believe her.
We had finished our silverware and were left to awkwardly stand face to face, forced to stare in each others eyes again. You can tell a whole story with your eyes. There are so many different looks, and so much depth to a person’s eye that shows you a lot about them. Jenn had nice eyes, sweet eyes really, with a hint of instability inside. I found myself thinking, does my sister Heather have her eyes?
The first thoughts that were going through my head is that the whole family had no idea what had happened twenty-three years ago, that it was all this huge secret. And I certainly didn’t want to be the one to break the news to my mother. As the conversation between Jenn and I started to wind down, I told her that I had to finish my work and just get out of here.
I turned away from her and started to do my side-work. I found myself walking towards the host stand, then to the front door. Not realizing what I was doing, I started to pick up my pace.
The host had said something to me, but I couldn’t make it out, my mind was racing to a different world, one that had suddenly done a U-turn and was now headed for a cliff. I was running at this point, and slammed into the front door. Stopping for a second I went to grab my head, when I noticed I was crying. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I headed through the second set of doors that led me straight outside.
The air was heavy and it felt hard when I took a breath. Or was it that I couldn’t catch my breath?
Without thinking I ran to my car grabbing at the door which was locked with my keys still in Fridays. I lost control of my body, something that I had never felt before, my knees, like jelly, no longer attached to my brain. Dropping to the hard concrete, I slide myself over to the curb. Resting my head on my knees I curled up into a ball, with tears streaming from my face onto the ground, a couple passed by, not stopping but staring, enough to make me notice and pick my head up. Why are they staring? Then I looked at myself, still in my Friday’s uniform, black apron and all curled up in a ball, crying my eyes out in a parking lot. I laughed a little, how ridiculous I must have looked. I wiped the tears away, put my hat back on which was lying next to me, it must have fallen off when I fell. I slowly stood up, and walked myself back into Fridays.
The host, and now three other servers stood at the desk.
“Hey are you okay? A guest said they say an employee outside by some cars…crying on the ground…” the host said as she stared at me with the look that says Wow I feel bad for you but really it said What the fuck is wrong with you?
“Uh yeah.” The only thing I could muster.
I walked past tables that stared at me, why was everyone staring at me. I couldn’t stand it, I booked it to the back room and into the bathroom. I stared at myself in the mirror for a while, thinking How could this have happened to me, to my family. I mean I knew we had problems, but this, this is bringing it to a whole other level. I drenched my face with cold water and wiped it clean. I stared again into the mirror but this time only to make sure that it didn’t look the way I felt.
I entered the kitchen and headed out to do my side work, when my manager pulled at my arm. “Hey Matt, are you okay? I heard that something was wrong…” Megan said with a voice I hadn’t heard come from her before. A voice that had a hint of sympathy, but god she had no idea what was going through my head.
I couldn’t even make a sound, words had escaped me. I turned my head down and again started to cry. Finally, “I don’t think I can be here right now, can I just leave?”