Take Chances

by J. Faith Kenney

 

“I QUIT!” I scream and this is the last time people will throw food at me. Everyday for the last three years I have come to work at this crappy diner, and everyday food or all kinds stains my uniform from disrespectful people.
Taking off the half apron while setting down my notepad and pen on the counter. I don’t care to pick up the money I earn even though I desperately need it. My boss comes rushing
 out of his office right on my heels. The little bell rings for the door and I am only inches away from it before I turn around.
“Kate, you need to finish your shift. Then we can talk afterward, but for now, put back on that apron and take the damn orders.” hiss my boss. A man who is a dropout and who sweats
 too much that the health department should shut this place down.
Looking around to the diner with a sigh before locking eyes with him. This time when I look at him all I can see is the further of what I will become if I stayed here doing this
 job I hate. I didn’t come to New York almost four years ago to be a waitress. I came to be a writer that worked with one of the big houses of publishing. If I stay here working too many hours for me to even function, to even live, all I am doing is wasting
 my time and getting further away from my dreams.
“I am sorry sir, but I quit. It is time for me to say goodbye to this place.”
“You are just mad you got food thrown at you. You are not thinking clearly so put on the apron and finish your job for today.”
Shrugging my shoulders taking a step back closer to the door. “Goodbye sir.”
His face pinches with rage and his fist curl as he raises it up to his face. “You-” I turn with a little smile walking out. Even with the door close to the diner, I can hear his
 screams. “YOU ARE FIRED, YOU DIDN’T QUITE I FIRED YOU!”
Believe whatever you want, but I am finally free saying goodbye to this place and I hope to never step foot into it again. For the first time, New York doesn’t seem all that grey
 with noises of honking and shouting. For the first time, I can see the blue sky above with the white clouds in between the tall buildings. For the first time, I can hear the birds singing happily instead of fighting. A smile curls my lips and the sinking unwanted
 feeling in my gut is finally gone and replace with joy because this is the right thing to do. My thoughts are happy like a rainbow is over my mind instead of a storm cloud.
Taking a breath in, closing my eyes to absorb my surroundings. The smile curls my lips again, but midway it gets knocks off my face with my hip hitting the sidewalk.
“Excuse me,” too late for that. “Oh my god, I am terribly sorry.” said a benevolent natural voice.
“It’s okay.” My voice is small as I stand up wiping the dirt off my hands onto my jeans. A few pieces of my thick hair fallen from my messy bun and I push them back getting it out
 of my face and looking up to the man. His jawline is sharp matching his green eyes under his square black glasses. His benevolent tone fits him perfectly and my breath catches a little at the sight of him. A bag fitted for a laptop hangs over his shoulder
 matching his makeshift suit but not the fancy kind.
“Are you alright ma’am?” he asked.
“Yes, um sorry for being in the way.”
“You shouldn’t be the one to apologize. It should be me since I practically push you to the ground. Sorry, miss,” waiting for me to say my name as he sticks out his hand.
“Oh, um Kate.” shaking his hand and I am painfully aware how gross I look and smell like right now.
“Well sorry miss Kate, now I have to get going to the writing conference across the way.” He smiles and starts to go on his way but the words ‘writing conference’ sticks out in my
 mind while breaks into a million of questions of hope.
“You’re a writer?” I spit out and he turns to face me with a smile.
“Sure am,” he pauses a little bit. “You know miss Kate the writing conference I am going to is for anyone in the public.”
“They have those?” I ask.
He laughs but not making fun of me with a nod. “Sure do. It just for writers to connect. Would you like to join me miss Kate?”
I smile just for a bit. Looking down to my clothes and all of the strains and how my hair is all in tangles and knots. “I-” This could be my chance to follow my dreams. “It is a
 good thing I ran into you sir, um and I am going to take your offer.”
He smiles and points his fingers across the street to a build. “This way miss Kate, and my name is John. It is always nice to meet a fellow writer.”
 I nod and walk across the street and inside the building with him. I feel out of place with the fake gold designs lining the wall, but I am too excited to really notice the building
 architecture. We go up a couple of floors and down the hall to a room. Along the way, we pass a couple of people who looked and looked again. I can hear their judgment, but I don’t care.
The room is small with no window and fluorescent light above. A long oval table fills most of the space with black rolly chairs around it. Only eight people are in there already
 talking with their laptops in front of them ready to write. I don’t have anything to write with or write on.
“Sorry I am late,” states John with a smile as he pulls out a chair and indicates it for me as he takes the one next to it. “This is Kate everyone, and I assume she is a writer as
 well.”
“Hi” Or “Hello Kate,” goes around the table. I smile- a real smile that hasn’t happen in a long time. I feel welcome, without judgment for how I look.
“So Kate what are you working on?” ask a lady with brown hair tied up into a bun.
“Um, I am not sure yet,” I reply.
“Well don’t worry, you will figure it out soon. I suggest writing what you know about life, rather that is yours or just life in general.”
“Thanks.”
John beside me pulls out a laptop and a piece of paper with a pencil and hands it to me. I look up to him to say my thanks and he only winks and I nod back with a grateful smile.
 He turns his attention to the others getting their attention.
“How about Kate introduce herself, that way we can know a little bit about her. Kate?”
“Um, sure. My name is Kate like John said, and well, I guess I walk out of my now old job at the right time. About four years ago I moved here to become a writer and haven’t really
 done anything to conquer that dream. So I am glad I am here now. And hello everyone.”
They all nod with smiles. “Let’s get to writing now.” states a man two seats down from me and they all chuckle while turning their focus onto their work. I have more words to write
 down than I thought of taking the lady’s advice for writing about what I know about life.
Life is crazy, but something you have to take chances and do bold moves to follow your dreams.
Like quitting your crappy job…