A woman in line at McDonalds loudly argues with someone on the phone about how much some company made in the last quarter. She is loud enough for the poor immigrant customers and homeless regulars in this Flatbush McDonalds to know that they are small. She is wearing skinny grey jeans, black doc martens, and a knee length fur coat that screams, “Yes indeed, she is important.” She hangs up the phone. Looks around and shoots a look of disgust towards the old man with dirt caked onto his skin. It’s her turn to order.
With her attention on her I-phone she says, ” I never eat here. Do you have any salads?”
The female cashier exclaims, “Sara? Oh my God. I have not seen you since freshman year! What have you been up to?”
“Oh, what a nice surprise. I didn’t know you work here? I’m good. I graduated 5 years ago and now I’m a stockbroker on Wall Street,” said Sara with a huge grin.
The cashier blushes. “Yeah been here for a few years now. Need money to make ends meet while my acting career takes off. Wall Street! That’s really impressive, ” said the cashier.
“Have you gotten any acting jobs? Give me the tittles. I want to see them.”
The cashier’s face turns an even brighter shade of red. She just shakes her head no.
Sara grabs her hand. “You will get something soon. Don’t —-”
The manager slams his fist on the counter and yells, “Girls, stop fucking around. You are holding up the line. Sara, you got 5 minutes left on your break.”
Sara’s eyes grew wide and watery as her face went pale. Her proud smile fell crooked and collapsed. The cashier sighed and asked, “Your usual Big Mac meal?”
Sara shook her head yes, swiped her card, and stepped to the side without a word because she feared that speech would prevent her from holding back her tears. She refuses to cry in a McDonalds over a Big Mac again. She refuses for this embarrassing moment to make her greasy fries even more soggy and salty from her tears. She hangs her head as she takes a bite of her burger. She tells herself that she isn’t gonna cry in this place again, like she did when she found out her boyfriend was leaving her for her hotter friend, when her mother called just to call her a failure, or when she found out her food stamps are getting cut again. She finishes her meal, and wipes her eyes smearing black eyeliner.
In the back room she takes off her fur coat, which reveals her worn out and faded uniform. She puts on her McDonalds snapback hat. She sees a sign that tells employees that if they are hungry, they should cut their food into smaller pieces to feel more full. She can’t hold it in any longer. Her face falls into her hands. She thinks, “I’m only 29. I’m exhausted.”
Her cashier friend comes in the back room. “He told me to get you. What’s wrong?” she asked.
“This is all we’ll ever do,” Sara cried.
“You better get out front now. Few more hours then we’ll blaze and talk.”
Sara’s standing behind the register, bright eyed, wide smile, and freshly applied make up. “May I help the next following guest?”