Have you noticed that you used to say “how are you,” but now that he’s not here you say “how are you doing,” with the emphasis on doing, even though I’m not doing anything different or special, I’m just ordering food? It’s fine. I’ll have the Pad Thai. I know it’s dull, unadventurous, the Pad Thai, it’s what I always get, every time. But I like it. I’m used to it. Not shrimp, though. Chicken’s my new thing. Well, really, shrimp is three dollars extra, and he was the one with the 9-to-5.
Is the one. I talk like he’s dead. Isn’t that ridiculous? It’s terrible, but I think I’d feel better if he were dead. If he comes in, could you kill him for me? Joking. This dispenser’s out of napkins, when you get a chance.
You don’t have to look at me with that I’m sorry face, although maybe that’s just your face. Not your face, specifically, but a waitress face, because waitresses have to apologize for things that aren’t their fault. Like some idiot comes in here and spills sriracha all over the table, and you have to say I’m sorry and wipe it up, and you have to replace the napkins or the chopsticks or whatever else it got on, and if they’re the entitled type you have to comp their meal, even though you didn’t touch the fucking sriracha. So the sorry, it probably sticks on your face.
Sorry. Spicy two. I’m just a bland person, I guess. It’s fine. I don’t know why Americans make such a big deal about dining alone. When we were honeymooning in Thailand–are you Thai? I figured, but I didn’t want to assume. Anyway, people were always dining alone in Thailand. If there were extra chairs at our table, the waiters would fill them with strangers. Just whoever popped in. It was sort of exciting. Not that I want you to seat a stranger here. That would be weird. Awful. I’m happy with the empty booth. It’s blue, my favorite color. And it’s just as quiet as he was, at the end.
God, I don’t know. A Coke. Diet. You probably think I should try someplace else. In here two nights a week, alone, for a month now. It probably makes your restaurant look sad. I don’t mean to make your restaurant look sad. You could call it Sad Thai. Kidding. I could go someplace else. There’s that new Indian place down the street, and that 24-hour diner where the drunk college kids go to sober up. But I’m not a drunk college kid. I’m thirty-fucking-two, so wouldn’t the diner be sadder, really? If you think about it?
You probably want me gone. You’re probably thinking, get this sad lady out already. I know the feeling. And I’ve heard it before, plenty of times, so you could just say it, if you want. Just say it. I’ll still tip you. I want you to say it, really. Get out.
Becky Robison masquerades as a corporate employee in Chicago, but at heart she is a writer and a world traveler. A graduate of University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Creative Writing MFA program, she’s currently working on her novel and serving as Social Media and Marketing Coordinator for Split Lip Magazine. Her fiction has appeared in Paper Darts, Midwestern Gothic, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter: @Rebb003