He sat in a padded chair by the window. The work lunch room was largely vacant save for one person reading a newspaper and another using the associate phone attached to the wall. The former looked like he was staring through the paper at the wall before him. The latter was turned from the room and spoke in hushed tones.
God he was hungry. He felt light, scattered and slightly groggy. He was getting paid tonight, the funds transfer landing in his account at midnight. That was in three hours. Until then, he’d have to cope. He started thinking about the money he’d spent. He had opted for the expensive baked beans, but 50 cents isn’t what ultimately put him in this predicament. Again.
He had gone out to a pub two days before and spent quite a bit of money. Three pints, a snack. Nachos. He didn’t regret it; he’d not gone out in over a week and a half and he liked that pub. Besides, he’d be quite the liar if he didn’t admit to himself that he’d gone in the hopes of finding someone to talk to. Attractive, but not pretentious. Well dressed, but not slutty. Dignified, but not a prude. Intelligent, but without the hubris.
He was well aware of the dangers of fantasizing about the ideal woman. Creating a list then struggling to match that list with what reality had to offer. Immediately feeling as though a compromise were made if someone he’d meet didn’t hit every point on that list. At the same time, though, he’d met a lot of people in his life and he had, like everyone else, internally articulated what he liked, what he enjoyed, what made him beam and what he craved. Moments like these made him feel like the world was against him. Then he visualized himself as a grain of sand on a beach and dismissed these self-centred delusions of self-deprecating grandeur.
There’s a club, if you’d like to go
You could meet someone who really loves you
So you go, and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home
And you cry
And you want to die
So the money spent there wasn’t an issue. He had to live. At times, at least. He sat with his right ankle resting just above his left knee and played with the frayed hem of his pants. He pictured what he’d enjoy eating at the moment. Everything from a grilled cheese sandwhich to a massive lasagna. He never thought of lasagna as a casserole. But it was. Food. The bastards.
He glanced at the clock on the wall. Three more minutes. He placed both soles of his shoes flat on the ground, slouching in the chair. After a few seconds he reluctantly got up and headed up the stairs. He looked around the room and headed to the first vacant table. He gathered the dishes and returned them to the kitchen, emptying plates half full of food into a large bin before dropping them into the dishwasher rack. He mindlessly handled the rinsing hose over the plates as he stared at the clock.