July 20, 2008 8:18pm
I haven’t felt this settled in a long time, and I’ve only been here a few days. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve gotten into a routine. In the morning, I get up at 5am to go over to the restaurant with Margaret and Brian, and help get things set up for breakfast. They open at 6am; the breakfast rush pretty much goes until about 9am. Then I take care of any customers that come in between 9 and when the lunch rush starts around 11:30 while Brian cleans up and Margaret gets the baking done for the rest of the day. I take a break for a few hours in the afternoon and Margaret and I usually switch off who looks after the dinner hour, although on the weekend we decided that we’ll switch off at lunch and both be there for dinner instead.
It was really hard at first, but I’ve gotten better at it. I didn’t break any dishes at all today! *HAPPY DANCE* I’m exhausted, though. I can’t understand how Margaret did it all these years by herself. She must never sleep more than a few hours a night as it is. The first night that I stayed during dinner and she got to go home she said she had no idea what to do with herself. Apparently she spent the night watching Jeopardy and bad reality shows, but she wasn’t impressed. She said she’s going to have to find herself a hobby.
Working in a small-town restaurant you end up seeing a lot of the same people every day. Of course, Rocklake is a town of only a couple of thousand, so I suppose you’d run out of people to eat in the restaurant eventually if you didn’t, and it’s not like there’s a lot of choices when people do want to go out to eat.
There’s this one older man, Howard, who comes in for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. Margaret told me that he’s a widower, and basically just has no idea how to cook. He’s almost eighty, too. It’s really pretty sad. He’s a very nice man. He’s obviously really lonely, too. He likes to talk. Some mornings he just stays after breakfast, right until lunch. I don’t mind and apparently he’s done it for a long time. It’s so nice to have someone to talk to. Even with Margaret and Brian around all of the time, I’m kind of lonely myself.
I wish I could tell Howard everything that’s going on, and how and why I ended up here. We talk a lot, and he tells me all about his family, but he listens as much as he talks, and I feel like he’d understand. He’s like the perfect grandfather. He has this driving cap that he wears all of the time, but he is very diligent about taking it off as soon as he sits down at the table. As soon as he stands up, the hat goes back on. It’s kind of quaint. Something Mom would approve of, for sure! One thing Mom could never stand about Steve was when he wouldn’t take his baseball cap off at the table.
Maybe one day I’ll tell Howard what’s really going on. I think he’d believe me, and I think he’d understand why I’ve done everything I have. Until then, I just listen to him talk, and other than that we make small talk, but it’s still nice. Sometimes lost souls just need each other, I guess.
July 22, 2008 5:09pm
I ended up not going back to the house after lunch today. I decided to stay and help Margaret with the baking. I’ve never been a very good cook, and I’ve never tried to make a pie in my life. Margaret makes everything from scratch. She prepares the pastry in advance and freezes it, so we didn’t do that, but she said the next time she’s making pastry she’ll show me how. For today we were just filling the pies (and the filing was pretty much already made, too) and baking them. She made up a few cakes, too, but the pies are what really sell. Almost everyone who comes in for lunch and dinner ends up having a slice of pie. She makes about 20 pies a day, and she always has at least 5 or 6 different kinds of pie every day. Today was apple, cherry, peach, lemon meringue, strawberry rhubarb and bumbleberry.
It just felt so NORMAL, standing there with Margaret, filling pie shells. She showed me how to put the top crust on and press it down with my thumb. People are eating pie with my thumbprint on it; for some reason that just makes me giggle. And I had no idea how to make meringue before this, either. Not that I’m very good at it now, either, but at least I have a vague idea. I don’t think Margaret’s going to be letting me do it on my own anytime soon, though!
It’s not my night to do the dinner service, so I headed back to the house after we finished. I took a piece of peach pie to have with my dinner. I bet it’ll be the best pie I’ve ever had. How could it not be, with my thumbprint on it, right? Ha!
July 24, 2008 1:42pm
I feel like I’m fitting in here better than I have anywhere else, ever. I don’t understand it at all, because I’m in IOWA, of all places, but it’s like this is the place that I’ve been looking for all along. It’s such a tranquil life here. There’s no stress, no rat race. No one lives crammed into apartment buildings where your neighbour watches you go in and out, and you have to see, hear and SMELL other people constantly. No one has to worry about catching the subway, or missing a commuter train. They just ARE. They get up, go to work, go home and spend time with their families. It’s like heaven or something.
There are people living here who have barely ever been anywhere outside of this town, and I don’t think they realize how lucky they are: to not have to deal with the corporate rat race (not that I know anything about that, but neither do most of these people); to have none of the stress of city life at all. They just seem CONTENT. Maybe it’s all an illusion, but it sure doesn’t seem like it to me.
I wonder if Aidan would consider coming here with me, once I find him. I honestly think my life would be complete if that happened. Then again, maybe the town where he lives is like this, too. Maybe he’s found a paradise of his own, and he’s just waiting for me to join him.