Last time Tracy and Davis enjoyed an idyllic brunch and Tracy ignored warning bells from the future.
Sitting in my hand, dark and unresponsive, my phone didn’t look like the enemy. It really didn’t.
All the same, I wanted to hurl it at the wall.
The job was gone. Just like that.
Jan had been nice and all. It’s not like it was her fault.
“Yeah, Tracy, I’m really sorry to do this, but we just aren’t going to be able to have you come on board right now.” Jan had paused on the other end of the phone for a minute, maybe waiting for a reaction I wasn’t planning on giving her right then. “The budget isn’t going to allow for any more hires than the ones we’ve already started. I do hope you understand.”
“But I signed a contract,” I had protested weakly. “I moved here.”
“I know, and we really appreciate your dedication to the company. We hope you’ll apply at a future date when there are openings listed on the website again.”
There hadn’t been anything else to say.
And my day had started so well too.
I went to work with little plan. Claire and Davis had been on the lunch shift, and aside from a small child who had apparently just learned the strength of his own lungs and screamed at full volume for a solid half hour, it had been a relatively quiet shift. There was no hiding my morning though. Even Nell asked me if someone had died when she saw me.
“Just my future,” I had mumbled faintly on my way through the kitchen to the office.
I tried to ignore it and get my head in the game for the evening shift, but I couldn’t. By the time the rush was over, I had snapped at everyone in the kitchen, messed up three orders and spilled a tray of drinks in the center of the dining room.
“Keep it together, Trace,” Davis whispered to me as we crouched over the puddles of broken glass and swept multiple towels together to catch everything at once. “The night’s almost over.” A tear was rolling down my cheek, and I wanted it all to be over. The shift. My looming unemployment. Davis’s sympathetic support was the final straw.
A tear plopped onto the floor, and then another. And in less than a minute, Claire was dragging me back through kitchen and installing me in the walk in freezer, sitting on a keg.
“Pull your shit together,” she snapped, wiping the beer from her palms and crossing her arms. “This is not the end of the world. You are not destitute. But you’re gonna have a problem talking Nell into keeping you on staff if you can’t make it through a shift when you have a little hiccup in your life.”
She rushed back out of the freezer when she heard Jed’s voice from the kitchen yelling for her to get back on the floor.
The light shut off as the door closed again, and I sat there in the dark feeling sorry for myself. Some corner of my brain recognized that I was making a virtual mountain out of a molehill, but it couldn’t be helped. What was I going to do now?
Cover art for Headed towards the Right Decisions was created by Maritza Lugo.