Here's To The Pain

Pain, or more specifically, grief, has five stages. They look different on all of us, but there are always five - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This story gives a small glimpse about how to deal with pain.


5. At The Inn

   “May I take your orders, please?”

   “One antipasti platter and a glass of ice tea, please.”

   “Thank you, it won’t take long.”

   Addison scribbles away the orders on her post-it, walks to a door, turns the doorknob, shouting out, “One antipasti!” and presses the button of a machine which reads ‘tea’. As the cup fills with bubbling tea, she pulls out two ice cubes and dropping them in the cup she gives it to another waiter, saying, “Table 21.”

   She gazes at her watch just like she has been doing almost every two minutes. 5:23. It’s about time. He will be here very soon. How will he react by seeing her like this? How will he think of her, by coming to know she is a waiter? Will he regard her as someone less? What should she do so that he isn’t offended by her? At least less offended? Neo is a really nice friend. Well, he is her only friend. So, what should she do? The truth. Yes. Just have to tell him the truth. He’ll understand. He has to.

   Her heart thumps louder inside her chest as she sees Neo enter the Inn through the glass doors. He looks around and spots Addison. Then, the inevitable happens. As he observes Addison closely, a sudden look of shock strikes his face and he walks fast towards her. A lump is created in Addison’s throat which she has great difficulty swallowing. Unpredictably, Neo starts laughing.

   “Gotcha!” says Neo. Addison’s mind experiences maniac confusion while Neo can’t stop laughing. Addison nods her head confusedly to Neo indicating she wants an answer. “Oh Addie, you are so decent, so innocent, I just couldn’t not make fun of you!” he speaks teasingly, and tries to control his bursting-with-laughter mouth when he sees the eyebrows of Addison’s face creased.

   “What do you mean?” asks Addison inquiringly. “I mean that I already know you do this job, and I am really, really sorry to make such a stupid joke,” he says. “So you don’t have any problem?” asks Addison, her heart slowing. “Why should I have a problem? In fact, I actually admire you even more after knowing that you care so much for your family,” says Neo, blushing a little.

   Addison obviously doesn’t notice and suggests Neo to take a seat. “Nice bracelet,” he says, pointing towards a silver plated metal strap tied around her wrist which has a golden dove. “Thanks, my mom gave it to me,” she says. “Oh,” says Neo. There is an awkward pause. “So, should we start the session, ma’am?” asks Neo, finally. “Oh, wait, I’ve got to quickly do my shift first, or else my boss will sue me,” she whispers to him with a smile. “That’s alright,” replies Neo.

   After about an hour, Addison tiredly takes a seat beside Neo. “Sorry for the delay, let’s start,” says Addison, somehow sounding exhausting as well as enthusiastic. “I don’t know why we have to write as long an essay as the Great Wall of China about such a crappy thing like love,” says Neo. “Hey! I feel that love is an emotion so....ummm...See? I am out of words when it comes to love. It is the most beautiful thing that can ever happen to anyone! It is not crappy!” says Addison. “Okay, fine! Love is beautiful!” he mimics her. “Happy now?” Neo says, although deep inside he knows he himself is a strong believer of love.

   Time flies by as Addison writes almost all of Neo’s essay while Neo indulges himself in the marvelous sight of the girl who, as always, fascinates him. Her turquoise eyes filled with concentration, her hair softly falling on her face, her ears which actually flutter when she is full with vigilance… However, he is interrupted by the ringing tone of his phone.

   He picks it up and answers, “Hello? What? Oh, please stop it! Uh-huh? Why don’t you just back off!” he switches off his phone and throws it on the table, his body shaking with anger. After a while, he looks up to realize every single eye in the Inn is directed towards him. Maybe he had spoken a little too loud. “Sorry everyone, please continue,” says Neo, regretfully.

   “Who was that you were screaming to on the phone?” asks Addison, apparently shocked with his sudden outrage. “My mother,” he says. “Why were you shouting at the top of your voice like a mental man and go all berserk with your mother?” asks Addison more politely than she means to.

  “Well, tell her to open her dreamy eyes wide and see that her sweet pumpkin is a big boy now!” shrieks Neo. “I mean, she is unbelievable! And now she wants me to come home and see some book which my dad brought from Argentina. First of all, he goes very rarely there, and all he brings is a stupid book! He knows I don’t read them, yet he will bring them, for God’s sake, why? Anyways, I wanted a camera!”

   “You are just impossible!” begins Addison, surprising Neo who was lost in his own rage. “You have so many things, you know that? You are actually so well-off in life that I am jealous! Others are in a world of pain, Neo, and all you are frustrated about is a friggin’ camera?” Addison throws Neo’s essay on the table, and reaching boiling point, she leaves without another word.

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