Thursday, May 28, 2009
Say a prayer for Alva and her friends
Guy: "Thanks. Thanks for the warning."
Young woman behind the counter, with eyes narrowed, asks me: "What kind of sandwich can I get you?"
Me: "Have you got jalapeno cheese bread? A footlong jalapeno cheese, roast beef, pepper jack, toasted."
YW, eyes mere slits, gets it going, and asks: "Did you want that toasted? Wait. You said that didn't you?"
Me, smiling overlargely, being extra friendly because I realize, a miracle, that I've been unnecessarily gruff: "Wake up now!"
YW: "Oh, I'm awake. My brain is just dazed."
Me: "I'm sorry."
YW: "I've had a rough day. Started out rough."
Me: "I'm sorry. Sorry to hear that."
YW: "I watched my girl friend get shot and another girl bleed to death in the other room. I didn't want to come to work today. Had to come to work."
Silence, as she fixes my sandwich.
YW: "What vegetables would you like on your sandwich?"
Me: "Everything but spinach and, I see no carrots, so everything but spinach."
She's putting it together.
Me: "What's your name?"
A few pregnant seconds pass.
Me: "Alva, I'll say a prayer for you."
Alva, face AWAKE, eyes wide, lookin' AT me and TO me: "Thanks."
Me: "It's all I've got. I pray for you. And your friends."
Alva: "Thank you."
She rings up my sandwich, I pay and leave.
Snapshot. Join me in praying for Alva and her friends.
You're a good man.
But the thing I find most horrendous is this statement:
"Had to come to work."
We have been living in various morgues of our own making for seven years. And we are just beginning to put the sign up.