(Somewhere in the 1980s)
Call it escapism, if you will. Honora glanced at her watch, whipped off her white apron, and tucked it beneath the waiters’ station. Time to flee.
The other waiters eyed her as they gathered around the staff lunch to chat, gossip, complain, and joke, slipping into their true actor/artist personas – crossing legs, waving cigarettes around, discussing auditions. They likened her to a particular cartoon character who always exited so quickly that her hairpins flew out (a cackling witch, if memory served Honora correctly).
“Where’s the fire? Slow down, Honey!” It amused the head waiter to shorten her name to Honey or Nora when taunting her. Little did he know that Honey and Nora were already two distinct (and often contentious) sides to her.
“Come, on! No leftover pasta for you?” a waitress called out.
“Not today. See you soon!”
Honora grabbed her bag, pushed open the restaurant door, and greeted the streets of Manhattan with a deep inhale and a smile. Although she was marked as a waiter – black pants, black shoes, white shirt, black suspenders – she felt confident that the thin, pale-blue tie (from a vintage clothing store) and small pearl drop earrings softened the waiter’s attire and perhaps suggested that she was an artist. Of some sort, anyway. This was New York, after all!
She turned to the left for a change, assuming a café would be easy to find. But the closer she got to Fifth Avenue, the more crowded (and expensive) the posted menus became. So, she backtracked to a little lunch place she had been to before. She stepped inside and took a seat at a small table near the window that was just being reset.
The clock showed that she had two hours before the dinner shift. Enough time to work on her children’s story for class. She pulled out a beautiful, thick notebook. The cover was patterned in deep rich colors, suggestive of Moroccan tiles – midnight blue, dusty magenta, peacock – and bordered in gold filigree. (Honey was dazzled by its beauty.) Rather large and heavy, but then Honora had a lot to say.
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