I work at a BBQ restaurant. Who eats at BBQ restaurants? (Besides old couples and families, which are pretty great.)
GUYS. CUTE GUYS. CUTE GUYS AROUND MY AGE. Which are pretty great as well.
So every shift of work goes something like this: I wear my inevitably BBQ sauce-stained t-shirt with pants that are slightly unflattering because hey, it’s work, and comfortable, unattractive footwear because, hey, it’s work. I add a bow or headband to my hair because hey, even though it’s work, my heart is beating so I need a hair accessory.
Then, halfway through my shift, as my hair is coming out of its bun or braid, and the sauce on my shirt is nice and soaked in, and I’m super thirsty and hungry, he walks in. A guy. A cute guy. A cute guy around my age.
He is always alone, and he’s always getting his food to go. This is a problem. “Sit, stay a while,” I want to say. “Perhaps even until 4 p.m. when I get off work?”
But no, the ones who sit and stay a while are the rowdy guys in large groups who use cheesy lines and ask me for 46 different things before leaving an unsurprising 10 percent tip on the table.
These guys–the to-go guys–are the good ones. Today, like I every day that I work, I said a too-soon goodbye to one of the good ones. I delayed his departure as much as I could, but the time came when from the kitchen I heard “Order up!” and I just knew. Knew that I had to let him go.
After all, he had a cat waiting in the car and had just made the drive up from Orlando. He needed to get home.
And now I sit at home, thinking of Drew (I’m so Taylor Swift-y that I just published his name. And it really was Drew.) and wondering who the next to-go guy will be when I work again. At least I can cling to the fact that I know one will come. They always do. Perhaps next time I’ll have to guts to invite him to sit and stay a while. (Or maybe I’ll just kiss my dignity goodbye and take to Craigslist to post an infamous missed connection.)