Kathy, the salad bar, and me…

As I sat at the table enjoying my pizza and cheesy bread sticks, I couldn’t help but notice the lovely, yet untouched, salad bar. It had freshly grated carrots, cabbage and other vegetables; juicy pineapples spiked with angostura bitters; pastas of all sorts; buttered corn, olives and mushrooms; all looking so appetizing and
tasty. And under the lights, that salad bar beamed. Oh! It beamed!

Kathy, I’m sure, had had a long day. With an early morning start, quick shower, and hurried dress, she would have left home on an almost empty stomach, to face a day filled with assignments, quizzes, and lectures. There would have been little time to grab anything to eat, save a corn-curl or a bag of phlourie. Nevertheless, at the back of her mind it would all come to an end. The time would soon come for her to make amends.

It was probably after 9pm when Kathy left the college to return home after the long, tiring day. However, before she would arrive home she would make one important stop. A stop at Pizza Hut.
There I had sat for the past few minutes delighting in the tranquil room, listening to soft music on the radio, and of course observing the salad bar, which I regretted not ordering. As Kathy entered, she went straight to it. It had been the place she had thought of for the entire day. On confirming its variety and desirability,
she proceeded to the cash register to obtain her take-away receptacle. Without delay, she opened it, and proceeded
to put one spoon after another into what seemed a bottomless pit. My eyes opened in amazement, as a female attendant in the periphery of my vision also began to take notice. We exchanged glances, to which there was silence, maybe a slight giggle. But meanwhile Kathy was going about her business, in earnest,
unaware that her secret desires of a long, hard day were being watched in disbelief.

For me, it seemed like a dream I had had for myself. If only I could have mustered the strength to ignore what others might think. In a sense Kathy proved brave, and dauntless, yet, I had never seen her in such light. I had to let her know how much of an inspiration she was. But how? “Hi Kathy,” was all I could say. She in turn smiled and said that she was glad to see me, and then wished me a pleasant evening. Pleasant it was, even the more
for seeing her and more so, seeing what many are dared to do.

I left shortly afterwards, but not before taking one last look at the salad bar. It still had some of its parts untouched, but it never looked the same. Never.

————

11/18/1997

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