11. The World

A deep blue blazer buttoned only up to under my chest, a white blouse which had longer sleeves that arrived up to my wrists, black tight pants and shoes, the shoes were of course made to be comfortable to work in but at the same time they were quite elegant, as to not mismatch the restaurant’s feel. Both males and females were made to wear pants, as wearing a skirt not only would constrict movements but could also gave people the wrong idea, inciting acts of sexual harassment.

At first, working here was quite difficult. I wasn’t allowed in the dining area until I memorized the menu and the characteristic of each dish, plus I had to be able to fluently hold a conversation with a customer without trespassing personal spaces, both theirs and mine. Chatting with the customer is okay as long as it’s about the restaurant, no flirting or asking about personal information.

My only bad habit was that I used to not get too close with male customer. If it’s possible, I go near the female ones, other wise I just suck it up and do my work. While I do not suffer from androphobia, I don’t trust males that easily, more so if they resemble Jack. As my saviours, or something, I didn’t feel such mistrust toward Fred, Marco and Richard, nor toward any male in my family. Besides mom’s brother. Too touchy-feely.

Sticking my head out of the door, I observed the dining room of the first floor. My fellow co-workers had already finished placing the white tablecloth, a cylindrical, thin pot of fake myrtle and magnolia flowers, sets of tableware and black table napkins on each table. I entered the dining room and walked toward the stairs, the others should be still working there. Looking around, I saw that I had just been one time to see the last table being prepared.

I stopped and my gaze shifted toward one person, Martin. A middle-aged man whom you could not describe as neither chubby nor fit, he had a roman-type nose, hazel eyes, short black/brown hair on the sides of his head (he was almost bald, and he didn’t like it) some wrinkles caused from the countless amounts of grins he likes to make, Martin has always been a mischievous person, and lastly, white gloves. His hands were burnt when his house caught fire and he rescued his wife and daughters, successfully saving their lives at the measly cost of horribly disfiguring his body. I admired him.

“You can put up the ‘open’ sign now.”

His husky overlapped the clattering of tableware, catching my full attention. I made a small nod to acknowledge his words and turned around. From the windows near the double door I could see people nearing the restaurants. It wasn’t an unusual sight for customer to arrive just as we open. I unlocked the double door and opened it as I put myself to the side and motioned for the patrons to enter. Once they do, I hung our “open” sign on the left doorknob and close the doors.

Martin was talking with them with a smile on the face, asking what kind of table they wanted and where, at the same time Joshua, one of the other waiters, took their jackets and coats. I went toward the counter and then behind it, after a quick glance to the customers, I took out seven menus and followed behind the group up to the second floor. They choose a table not too distant from the stairs, somewhat in the center of the room and I waited until they all sat down before passing each of them a menu.

“Welcome to L’Espoir, would you like some water and refreshments while you decide?”

Thursday morning passed by quietly, I suspected this would be how my schooldays were going to be from tomorrow onwards. When the lunch bell rang, me, Alice and some of our classmates calmly exited the class. ‘They must be going to the teachers’ office too.’ with that in mind, I walked side by side with my friend, who had taken out her cellphone. I peeked at her display and saw she was looking at my facebook account, my mouth hung open.


Alice’s emerald green eyes stopped staring at her phone and started looking directly at me, with a smug smile she silently asked me “What?” I puffed out my cheeks, furrowed my eyebrows and faked an angry tone. I answered “I didn’t know you were such a busybody!” in a volume high enough to convey my “anger” while not at the same time not high enough for others to think we were discussing.

Well, it’s not like I cared anyway. Of course, it was a bit embarrassing seeing someone thoroughly watching through your things, but at least she was blunt about it? I don’t know what the heck I’m saying. Still, it’s not like there’s much. I have never changed my profile picture and as for my cover image, there are only 6~7 and all are photo/scans of my drawings. On the matter of drawings, I did make an album with photos of all my drawings.

“Your drawings are really well made, and I can also see how much you have improved *giggle* …but what caught my attention the most was the photo of you in front of L’Espoir~ did you really go there? Or did you just take a picture in front of it? I’m new but I know that that place has got a clientele of a certain class.”

Her small, suppressed laugh when she pointed to my first drawing, I could feel my cheek flush in embarrassment. ‘Gosh, maybe I should not have uploaded the bad ones too?!’ Then as I was in the middle of my own crisis I heard Alice’s barrage of questions and was at a loss, I was simply too surprised mom’s restaurant’s reputation was so spread out. Unconsciously, I puffed out my chest and a glint of proudness shone in my eyes as I replied to Alice.

“L’Espoir is my mom’s restaurant, I work there twice a week.”

“What! You for real?!”

She appeared stunned with her mouth open and the jaw hanging loosely. With a small nod and a “Nnh.” for emphasis, I continued walking while Alice stood there for a few seconds more. Alice soon got back to Earth and caught up to me, her face barely contained her smile and her eyes seemed to be more sparkling than a vampire’s body. No references to a certain romantic series with mythical creatures.

“About Saturday, I initially planned on eating out in some random restaurant with you, but now I’d even promise to give you my Olympic gold medal if you let me eat your mother’s food!”

Her serious tone made this all the funnier. Giggling, I told her “First of all, I have to ask mom if she can, then, secondly, you talk as if you’ve already won the Olympics.” I had to hold my stomach as I laughed more loudly than I had noticed, my body bending forward in a く-like shape. Alice soon followed suit, making our fellow classmates give us sneaky side-glances with eyes that seemed to regard the two of us as mad people while they continued walking past me and Alice.

We leisurely arrived at the teachers’ office and split up, I searched for the professor who had talked about the JROTC elective while Alice went to talk with the representative of the foreign language course. For information, Alice’s course offers to teach various languages, but she’s interested in the most spoken languages only, as in the future it is almost certain she will travel around the world.

Not wanting to be unprepared, Alice started studying foreign languages little while after she had decided on her future career. More than half of the lunch break remained when we were both done, so we went to get my lunch from my locker. It seemed that if I joined the JROTC, I’d have lessons on Monday and Tuesday from the end of school lessons to 6 p.m. After that, we reached the outside garden, situated behind the main part of the school building and its two wings, where we (Alice) decided to join up the three girls of our class I didn’t want to have anything with.

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