Writer Inika Ambalike

Category Original Fiction

Abstract This is a story of a university students who works par-time and occasionally eavesdrop on the most fascinating stories her customers have to say.

I work in a restro-bar to help pay university fees and bills and every Friday, I work behind the bar counter. This part of my job is a bit tricky but also quite fun. It’s after a long week and a lot of people come here after work to wind down. So they all are expecting perfection from me and if i screw up the smallest detail they start with their “listen, its been a long week and i have been working really hard so could you just not” speech.
Usually I don’t mess up big time and get to here how the week went from these people talking on their phones, co workers, friends or they sometimes just vent it out to me.
But one pair of customers I always look forward to seeing are the therapists from 4th Avenue, which is only two blocks away.They come here every Friday to talk about their week and the craziest stories from their patients. Just hearing their stories gives me anxiety because of what they have to deal with. I was preparing their drinks at the moment. I poured it into tall glasses and handed it to them. They took it while still deep in conversation about the most recent patient one of them had this week.
"So she never goes out to crowded public places?"
"Never. She is terrified of people in general now. I asked her what she thought of going out on a date anytime soon and she said, "After last time, I don’t think it's ever possible."
"3 years and this is the first time she has got any help?"
"Yup. But she did file a restraining order against her ex, but right now she has a severe case of PTSD. Apparently, her family told her she was overreacting and the classic ‘other people have had it worse’ story."
"Oh my- gaslighting your own family. And what is her current relationship with them? "
I want to ask them so badly what exactly they were talking about. And I couldn’t even just stand there making the drinks to listen to the rest because I had to go serve people across the counter. I’m guessing it's a sexual assault from what context I’ve got. I gave the next drink to a guy who was celebrating his 18th birthday with his best friend here. This was a little suspicious because I definitely remember serving both of them alcoholic drinks before. I guess that at least one of them can stop using their fake ID now. But it looked like the birthday boy was crying?
"And like right after that, mom was like, ‘I don’t like this anymore. I’m filing for a divorce’ and dad shouted, ‘fine, I wanted the split for awhile anyway’ and he left the room. He didn’t even wish me for my birthday. He just texted me later and venmoed me some cash, but I wanted to feel normal for at least today. Why do they always do this to me?"
"I think your parents never understood how their constant quarrelling affected you..."
"You think? At this rate, I’m sure I’m their adopted because they have made my life hell! No offence to you bro."
"None taken-"
o this child clearly has a lot of childhood trauma. I never understood how bad these kids from dysfunctional families had it. My parents are both wonderful to me, and I get along well with both of my siblings. We didn’t grow up with a lot of money. And my older sister got into university with 100% scholarships.
We are all very proud of her. I looked up to see if any new customers had joined the counter and here was my favourite one- this older woman who runs this huge multi-million dollar company right here in London. She looks like she could be in her 50s and she is very active. Plus, she heavily tips me even though there is a service charge already added to the bill. I gave her her usual and she thanked me with this bright smile on her face. She is always such a delight.
Time passed and I looked at my watch. My shift had ended a few minutes ago, so I got my stuff ready to leave. I looked around to see and the therapists had left. The birthday kid was still here with his friend but wasn’t crying anymore. The business woman was talking on the phone and a couple had just walked in.
The woman was holding tightly to the man’s arms with her mascara running down her face. But she was beaming with a smile and so was he. Then I noticed the pretty ring on her finger. Either she just got engaged or those two just watched the most wholesome video ever. Or she could be pregnant. Who knows...? I walked out of the restro-bar and headed towards home, slowly muffling the voices of joy, exhaustion and sadness behind me.