Come on, give me a kiss, he says, offering up his cheek. The other waitresses don’t look at me. I’ve seen them dutifully bestowing their kisses, expressions flat, then moving away, on to another task. Give me a kiss, he repeats. The dishes clatter in the sink. I lean over and peck his cheek, which is damp and round and red. I’m just like the other girls now. I can do the job.
He comes over to me one afternoon while I’m sitting filling salt shakers. No one else is there — it’s a lull between shifts. I’m going out to do errands, watch the place while I’m away. I say okay, looking down at my salt shakers, trying to keep from spilling. He keeps standing there until I look up. And then — it’s like a bird flying in my face — his tongue is in my mouth. It flicks in and out. He laughs, turns around and walks out. In the doorway he briefly obscures the sun.
What I can never forgive myself for: I laughed too.
leaning against a cold stone wall —
trying to explain