We were grossly understaffed and in the middle of the worst rush I've seen since I started working at Smooth Moves
. The line was out the door. Nidda had just screwed up the sauce on 4 orders, a very angry man had just arrived to pick up a called in order that hadn't been made yet, and seven hardbodied bizness chixxx
had just ordered complicated custom smoothie
s. Half my hair had tumbled out of my ponytail
, Alex's youngest son was clinging to my leg, and half the people in the restaurant were glaring at me.
All I wanted was to go sit in the freezer
The smoothie station is only equipped to blend two smoothies at a time. I furiously scooped mango and raspberry and crossed my fingers, hoping that I'd gotten the Charlie's Angels in suits' orders correct. I watched the customers in line as I worked. One woman caught my eye. She was about 40 years old, with dark shoulder-length hair. She wore jeans and a tiny white tee-shirt and toe rings and a fabulous malachite necklace. A wry smirk played at the corners of her mouth. Her face was crisscrossed with lovely smile lines, not wrinkles.
I instantly wanted to know her. I wanted her to tell me stories about being a Poison groupie and about hitchhiking to Maine to dip her little pink seashell toes into the ocean. I instantly made up a thousand wonderful stories: How the lovely and mysterious woman earned her smile lines. I happily scooped ice and sorbet, lost in her world of my own design. I wanted to be her when I grew up.
I didn't notice the bony woman with short, wiry hair and the ugly scowl until she planted her hands on the counter and leaned far over it, into my face. I could smell her bland breath.
"I ordered a Mang-OJ ten minutes ago! I've already finished my damn sandwich! Now where is my drink?"
I told her that I was only equipped to make two smoothies at a time and that we were very backed up and would she please have a seat and it would be ready momentarily. She slouched back to her table, muttering obscenities under her breath.
She scared the holy bejeezus out of me.
I went back to scooping and blending. When I looked up, The Mysterious Lady was looking at me. She smiled and beckoned me closer with a crooked finger. I leaned over the counter, eager to hear her voice. She tilted her chin towards the scowling skeleton woman and whispered, "It must be horrible being ugly, don't you think?"
I doubled over laughing. I laughed until my spleen hurt. I laughed until my eyes watered. I laughed until the evil bonewoman looked over her shoulder and sneered at me. It felt marvelous. The Mysterious Lady laughed with me the entire time. Then she took her wrap from Alex, winked at me, and walked out of the store.
And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson...