The life of a waitress can be trying— demanding customers, messed up orders in the kitchen, spilled drinks, and constant motion. My short-lived encounter with waitressing at age eighteen led me to pursue other vocations. I learned when people go out to eat they demand perfection. If not, the waitress will certainly hear about it. My experience granted me one thing: empathy for the people who spend a great deal of energy trying to please their customers. I don’t expect waitresses or waiters to be perfect, friendly—definitely—but I can overlook a forgotten item brought a bit late.
In Tattered Covers, Zal becomes a waitress in a retro-fifties cafe called Momma’s Diner. She’s a people person so she enjoys interacting with her customers. But one particular customer throws her for a loop. Zal presents a menu to an aloof gentleman.
“I’ll be back to get your order, sir.” The man’s eyes remain focused on the menu, his voice low. “I killed my wife.”