Part 2

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The drive to work was a royal pain in my ass. Traffic flooded the freeway and I nearly got hit a few times but I made it with 10 minutes to spare. I reached into my center console and grabbed a pack of smokes, pulled one out and put it between my lips. I snagged a lighter off the passenger seat and put the flame to the end of my cigarette and inhaled slowly. I tossed the lighter back onto the seat and watched it bounce off into the crack between the seat and door and shrugged my shoulders grabbing my phone and opening Instagram. I scrolled down through a few photos and stopped when I saw a post by Josh Katz, the singer of one of my favorite bands. It was a photo of the Denver Skyline with a caption reading "Where's the best place for vegan food and brews?"

I looked up at the building in front of me as a smile spread across my lips. I started typing a comment on his post. "If I'm correct, that's a picture of Denver...I'm guessing that's where you're at so (totally biased) I can suggest eating at Tiger Lily's. The vegan food is great, but the bartender is even better. ;)" I hit send before I had time to regret what was said. I read my comment again and went red. "Oh well...its not like he will even see it. I'm sure the comments are going to flood in and my response will just get washed into the background." I smashed my cigarette into the ashtray and grabbed some lavender perfume and spritzed it all over myself as I grabbed my things and made my way inside.

When I got inside I started my opening duties including restocking the bar and pulling down chairs from table tops. I could smell the aroma of food cooking coming from the kitchen so I decided to order something to eat. I still had 30 minutes before we opened so I needed something to pass the time anyway. I sat at the bar and opened instagram while I waited for my food. I had a notification so I clicked over to see what it was and my heart nearly stopped. It was a "Like" on my comment on Josh Katz's post from none other than Josh himself. "He saw it..." I whispered under my breath as I struggled to breath. "Still doesn't mean he would actually come here. There's no way. Of all the places he could go...there's no way..." Right as those thoughts started taking over my mind, a bell dinged signaling that my food was ready. I locked my phone and put it in my pocket as I walked towards the kitchen trying not to give it another thought.

I finished my meal right on time to unlock the doors and officially open the restaurant for the day. The first hour passed slowly...After being there for 2 hours, Gwen came over to the bar looking rough. I could tell she was stressing. "Ana...is there any way you can stay a little longer? I ran into some minor hiccups and this is taking longer than I had hoped..." She looked concerned which tugged at my heartstrings so I told her, "Yeah, It's fine. Do what you need to do. No rush."

Her face slowly faded into relief as she smiled and squeezed my forearm lightly before turning and making her way back to the office. I really didn't mind helping her out. She was a great boss. I knew that if I helped her, she'd help me when I needed it. I turned to the coolers behind me to double check that I had gotten everything fully stocked for the day. I wanted to be sure that Gwen had everything she needed when she came back on shift behind the bar. I pulled my phone from my pocket to check the time. It was nearly 1pm. Good thing I didn't have any plans today besides getting coffee...alone. I didn't really have many friends so most days were spent alone getting coffee...reading books...Lots of music and Netflix. Occasionally I would bust out my sketchbook and spend the day practicing my art. Most days I spent at home as I had anxiety that made it difficult to find the courage to leave, Yet somehow I managed to be a really good bartender. My personalities conflicted. I had terrible social anxiety yet I was extremely social. It was difficult to keep emotions level when you're dealing with that kind of pressure. That's why I listened to music so much. Especially Josh's music. He was so open about his struggles with anxiety and panic disorder so it was nice to be able to relate. I'd been dreaming about being able to sit down and have a conversation with him ever since I first found the music on youtube. It was on my bucket list.

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