Meal Ticket 1/5

By Drum Digital
14 July 2014

"I met a new man tonight!” Lerato called out as she opened the door to the flat she shared with her friend Pinky. Often she would go to work in the morning and come back with a new love story in the evening – Pinky was used to it by now. Lerato’s stories were sometimes the highlight of her day after a difficult day at lectures. they’d been roommates since their first year at the University of Western Cape. Now in their third year, they were as thick as thieves.

The pair came from very different backgrounds but that hadn’t prevented them from becoming good friends. While Lerato was paying her way through university with part-time waitressing jobs because her mother couldn’t afford to pay for her studies on her domestic worker’s salary, both of Pinky’s parents were lawyers and when she’d finished matric her father’s firm had given her a scholarship to study towards a BA degree. But apart from her money worries, Lerato always seemed a cheerful soul to Pinky and no matter how busy she was with her work, she always made time to hear Lerato’s daily love stories.

Lerato threw her bag down on the floor, kicked off her shoes, flung herself on her bed, rested her head on her arms and gave a deep sigh. “So? What do you have for me today?” Pinky asked. “Should I start preparing my bridesmaid’s dress . . . again?” “Ha, ha, ha – very funny,” Lerato said with a smile on her face. “trust me, my friend, this one is different.”“Different, how? Come on now, give me the whole story!” Pinky begged. Lerato sat up, faced Pinky, picked up her pillow and hid her face. “Promise not to judge me,” Lerato said through the pillow.

Pinky began to see that something was different this time around. “I promise I won’t judge. Start talking. You’ve got my full attention. Now . . . spill!” “You know how I like working a shift when some big-shot business people book out the whole restaurant?” Lerato began. Pinky nodded. “Well, tonight was one of those nights. My manager let the other guys go and left me to run the floor alone. All I thought was: more tips for me. The reservation was made for eight o’clock, but when the clock hit 8.30 there was no sign of them. I began to

worry about a shift with no tips. “At nine, I’d already given up on anyone showing up and I had accepted that I was going home tipless. I sat in the kitchen and waited for my manager to tell me I could go.

10 o’clock arrived and I was positive no one was coming.” “So you’ve fallen in love with your manager because he gave you a workless shift?” Pinky teased. Lerato pouted and shook her head. “No – just as I had anticipated, my manager told me to go on home. I was happy that I was going to get paid without lifting a finger, but then I started to worry about how I was going to get home. My phone’s battery was dead.” “How did you get here? Your manager?” Pinky asked. “Now we’re on the same page, but you need to recalibrate your thinking machine a little better,” Lerato joked. “Just as I was about to leave the restaurant to try my luck with the taxis, a beautiful black Audi TT pulls up.

“I wanted to stop and admire the car for a while, but then again I thought it might be the people who’d booked the restaurant and I wasn’t in the mood to work anymore, so I went round to the back to change into my walking shoes.” “Are you sure there’s a story here? If there isn’t, I swear to you, I’m going to make you swallow this pillow – feathers and all,”

Pinky said as she waved the pillow in front of Lerato’s face. “As I came out of the restaurant kitchen, I wanted to head straight for the door and not even look around in case they might ask me for something, even a glass of water. But my curiosity got the better of me and I looked up. Straight in front of me stood this man . . .”

To be continued...

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