This post is a collaboration between myself (writing) and David Standen (editorial).
“Two champagnes,” he jested as he put the Cokes down on the table. The man gave a pity smirk while the woman didn’t notice, she was too busy thinking hard on whatever he’d just said. The waiter pitied them, this was clearly one of those meals that was intended to remedy a situation but had only served to make it worse. They weren’t paying attention to the food, the decor, and certainly not his jokes.
“Two champagnes.” That was a classic, one of his best, always performed for the couples (and sometimes the kids) who ordered soft drinks. Guaranteed tip … well, usually. He doesn’t get put off though, it’s not the line’s fault, and he knows his small talk is impeccable. He’s a waiter in an Italian restaurant in the suburbs of a German city, speaking English to tourists – it’s his profession, it’s what he does.
Unfortunately it’s all he does. Since he can remember he’s never had a real conversation despite his efforts. He doesn’t know how one feels, but he can see how it makes others feel. In fact, that’s why he’s not upset about the one-liner – he’s overwhelmed with jealousy.
As he walks home he doesn’t dry his welling eyes. This is the same as yesterday so it doesn’t surprise him. Then he realises that he won’t be able to tell anyone tomorrow, again.
How he wishes he could have an uncomfortable evening.