Misadventures With a Blonde in the Cafeteria

I looked at my watch. “Okay, it’s about that time. We should go.”

Jasmine and I rose and walked to the lounge. I looked for a place to dump my half-drunk half-coffee half-hot chocolate but found nowhere so I carried it with me. In the lounge, I open my tupperware container of chocolate-covered pretzels that I had made the night before (I tried to make some with white chocolate as well but the chocolates didn’t melt). Everyone tucked in.

“You couldn’t wait to open these?” someone asked.

“For what?”

“The meeting.”

“Isn’t the meeting now?” I looked at my watch again. The minute hand was at the bottom.

“It’s in an hour.”

I looked at my watch. The hour hand was halfway between the two and the three. The meeting was at three thirty. I was only looking at the minute hand. I decided I was hungry.

“You have pretzels,” said Elisia

“That’s not food. I want food.”

“You can go to Treats.” Treats wasn’t called Treats anymore but since it had no new name it was Treats.

“Join me?”

“Sure.”

I had just come from the cafe formerly known as Treats with Jasmine but I didn’t eat with her. Elisia and I retraced the route but Treats had very little to eat other than plastic containers of fruit.

“That’s not food,” I said. “Fruit is something you eat in place of a meal.”

“We could go to Timmy’s,” said Elisia.

“Oh, yeah. Want to come?”

“Sure.”

We went down to the cafeteria and walked into the sushi bar.

“I thought we were going to Timmy’s?” I said.

“Oh yeah.”

We went to Tim Hortons. The line was long.

“The line here is always longer than at Starbucks,” I said, but we waited.

A blonde girl with glasses standing behind us started talking about Elisia’s boots. Then about other things. It’s awkward when a stranger strikes up a conversation with you out of nowhere, especially when you’re with someone else. She was cute, but strange.

The line took about ten minutes. I ordered a panini. The woman behind the counter told me that they did not make sandwiches that late in the day. They only had bagels. Bagels aren’t food.

“No, that’s okay.”

“Sorry.”

“They don’t have sandwiches,” I said to Elisia. We had just been discussing times when KFC said they were out of chicken. She laughed. The blonde girl complained that they didn’t have chilli either. Then she walked away and Elisia and I started walking in the other direction. I felt helpless. Elisia suggested we try the school store. I didn’t think they had anything worth eating. I was considering the fridges at the cafeteria that had packaged sandwiches, but I followed Elisia anyway.

The store had a fridge with sandwiches in it that I never paid attention to before. I tried to open the fridge but it wouldn’t budge. I tried to open it a different way but the other side had no slide handle. I tried the first way again. Looked for a lock. Tried it again. It opened a little bit, but slanted, so it wouldn’t slide.

“God hates me,” I said, laughing at the absurdity of it all. Elisia laughed. So did the blonde girl who was in one of the aisles. “How did you get here before us?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I went straight here.”

“Oh. I guess we went the long way round.”

I was beginning to think the girl was a figment of my imagination, but Elisia saw her too. That odd blonde companion in my misadventure. Who are you, bespectacled pixie blonde girl? You make me uncomfortable and you’re loud and you’re abrasive and I don’t like you and will you go out with me some time and I managed to get the door open and get my sandwich. Tuna salad.

“You finally got your sandwich,” said Elisia. “After all that.”

“Sorry to drag you around.”

“No, it was fun! It was an adventure.”

“This is my life, Elisia. Every day is like this for me.” I was joking but a part of it was true. I thought about all the strange moments in my life that never seemed simple. It ties back with my paranoia that I’m living the Truman Show. I feel like my life is a practical joke played by some Orwellian overlord.

I wondered if I’d run into that girl again. I didn’t end up finishing the sandwich.

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