‘Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something’ H Jackson Brown Jr.

There was a hollow look in his eyes. The kind where it almost looks like he lifeless.

His lips were a thin hard set line and his jaw was clenched tightly and he was grinding the back teeth together slowly.

The pad in his hand was shaking slightly and his grip on the pen in his hand was slipping as he grew tenser.

He was standing straight, almost too tall. Broad shoulders stretched back, pushing his chest out further.

The couple sat at the table are starting to lose their temper at a rapid pace. Shouting about incompetence, cold food and wrong orders. Complaining about the way he has been treating them.  The gentleman at the table, if he can be called that, ‘helpfully’ reminded him that he is their waiter and he probably can’t even afford most of the food on the menu and therefore he should respect him.

Then the complaints started about how the employees of this ‘once great establishment’ have gone to the dogs.

He just stood there politely. Took notes of all the complaints. Nodded accordingly. Readjusted his pen in his damp palm. Got a stronger grip on the pad in his other hand. Rolled his shoulders softly to ease some of the tension. And resisted the urge to scream and tell these ‘lovely’ people at the table what he really feels.

Once he had been ‘kindly’ dismissed and departed with a ‘sorry’ of some description he walked straight to the staff only exit and stepped outside.


He leaned against the wall and breathed deeply. Tried to calm the tremors that threaten his hands. Loosened his posture and became smaller. Almost childlike. Stopped grinding his jaw and picked a loose thread on his uniform shirt.

If you looked down at his shoes you would see that they are smart and freshly polished. They are paired with perfectly pressed trousers he is wearing. Not parts of his typical work uniform. But typical of his only black suit. The one that he was wearing three hours earlier.

At his mother’s funeral.

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Sophie, twenty-something, avid reader, writer, really good at watching whole seasons of TV shows in one weekend and using 10 words where 5 will do, overzealous user of the ellipsis and parentheses, starts too many sentences with ‘and’ and ‘so’, living in a continual state of Wanderlust.

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