Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jealousy 16

I walk through the employee entrance at Wollensky’s 15 minutes before my shift. Mark sees me and smiles. I wave and smile back. After I take care of my coat, I approach him. “Hey Mark. How are you doing?” My voice is chipper and to be honest, I am actually in a pretty good mood.

“I’m okay. Bad headache tonight. Are you going to do anything to make it worse? Do I need to worry about you tonight or in the future?” Mark has always been kind of gruff, but he is a softie at heart. I can’t imagine this is an easy job for him. He takes a lot of flack from the chef if anything goes wrong on the floor. I feel bad that I caused him so much grief last night.

“Actually, I wanted to apologize to you about last night. After I left, I went home and had a good long cry and then my roommate and I hung out today. She was great at pointing out how delusional I’ve been. After her little talk with me, I can assure you that I am capable of doing my job regardless who walks through the doors.” I had been thinking about what I was going to say to Mark on the train and now I am hoping my little speech helps reestablish the trust he has in me.

He looks at me suspiciously, unsure whether I am really capable of turning it off just like that. “Besides,” I say, “Mr. Cusack is unlikely to be back anytime soon so I have plenty of time to prove myself to you.”

“Jodi called in sick” Mark tells me. “I want you waiting her VIP tables tonight.” He turns and walks away. He still trusts me, even if he doesn’t say it directly. Waiting the VIP tables means big tips and he never puts people there who can’t give exceptional customer service. It’s a tip of his hat or a challenge. Either way, I am elated! I check my hair and make-up in the staff bathroom and punch in.

After about half-an-hour, Desire walks in. She tells everyone her Mamma named her that because she knew her baby girl would grow up to be someone others would desire. Although she works at Wollensky’s, she has a lot of musical talent and I fully expect her to make a name for herself. “Hey Desi!” I call out. “What are you doing tonight?”

She smiles and steps into the bathroom to check her hair and make-up. She has her father’s beautiful dark skin and everything else belongs to her mother. I met Desi here on her first day. We didn’t like each other at all. She thought I was stuck up and I thought she was a bit of a slut judging by her really short skirt and stilettos. For the first week, we never had to deal with each other. Training took up a lot of her time. Wollensky’s is too up-scale to allow anyone on the floor with the customers until after they have the job down. Instead, you practice in the kitchen by taking orders from the wait staff. “Fix the salad; dish the soup; I need brushcetta with feta” are all things that you might here in a 5 minute span. She was rushing to keep up and missed making a salad for one of the senior wait staff. I covered for her and in return, she gave me a really sweet homemade gift the next night. I think we were both surprised by the other’s reactions and started to talk to one another. Over the next few months, we built a great friendship. Two years later, we still delight in each other’s company.

I take drinks to my table before she comes out of the bathroom. At some point, we will pass each other in the kitchen and she will answer. This is how most of the conversations take place while we are working. About 20 minutes later, I find myself dishing up soup next to Desi. “Not much. My boyfriend is out of town for a week for an unexpected work thing. Why, what do you have in mind?”

As I pour a side of the house Honey Mustard I ask her, “Want to go to the Green Mill with me? I hear a great group is playing and I even bought a new outfit today.” And then I depart as Mark is looking in our direction.

“What time and where?” she says a little while later.

“I’m off at 9pm. Anytime you can be ready after that works for me.” I say, really happy that I have someone to go with.

Desi considers it for a brief time. “Sure. I’m off at 9:30. Want to meet at my place? Keys in my purse.”

I nod in agreement.

1 comment:

  1. The plan is coming together.....

    When did you post this? I must have missed it.

    Since I read this one and the next out of order but together.. I comment more on the other one.