I’ve worked the summer waiting tables at a restaurant near a state park. I’ve also been waiting for my senior year to begin so that I can finish with the class of 1974. Over the summer, I've made a little over $500 from my 50 cent an hour wage, plus tips. I will use my earnings to buy things I need for my senior year like a class ring, necklace, yearbook and senior pictures. I will also buy or sew new school clothing. The summer of my seventeenth year is nearly over. It's time to quit my job.
I first tell the owners of the restaurant that I’m quitting my job. Then I tell Opal who, on my first day, took me under her wing. Next, I tell Evie who moans and says that I’m silly to quit. Then, I tell the cook, but she’s ok with it since we’ll see each other at church. I tell my regulars I’m leaving the job: the man who always gives a nickel tip for his cup of coffee, the slicked hair guy who never gave up trying to lure me to his rented room at the resort every time he visited and the various fishermen who tipped well because they liked me.
When it’s time to leave, Evie surprises me by saying, “You should work here on weekends that way we won't have to miss you.”
“I’ll be too busy,” I say, but I’m thinking, not in a zillion years.
“You won’t want to work while school’s going on,” Opal says, smiling at me.
Although, I’m happy it’s my last day working at the restaurant, I also feel sad. There's something almost sacred about last days spent in places with people you're invested in. Leaving can produce a heavy heart, partly because of what's behind you, and, partly for the unknown you face. Either way, the heart suffers -- until it doesn't.
After I say my goodbyes, I drive my green Ford Mustang back up the hill that had once brought me there to work.
The End... of The Waiting Summer!
(If you have started here, I would like to recommend going to the tab, in the top menu, labeled The Waiting Summer to begin. Because this was in an A-Z order for a blogfest, this story is the end of the series. At the tab, you can read the stories in a better order. If you prefer, you may also begin reading them here with The End, and go backwards since I've tried to make each a standalone story. Not all stories are linked yet, under the tab. Enjoy!)
(P.S. The photo is my school picture taken a few weeks after school began.)