The Two Deaths of a Business Woman.


The Two Deaths of a Business Woman.

By Pol Arellano, 2007

I saw a woman in town today. She parked her bicycle in front of a shabby-chic café. On her bicycle was an attached basket. On the attached basket there was a box. She took the box out of the basket and sat on one of the tables outside the café. Her table was next to a couple kissing passionately.

A waitress approached her. The waitress had bangs of gold. The rest of her hair is shaved. She wore an apron that smelled like bacon, sweat and coffee. She smiled automatically at the woman like she knew her forever.

You look tired, dear. Nothin’ like a cup of tea to calm the wires and odds.

Yes, a cup of tea would be lovely.

The woman thought of how she hated tea. She thought of its green, dried leaves and she thought of how much she loathed green, dried leaves. She thought of how she wanted to drink a Bloody freakin’ Mary instead. Yet she held her smile even after the almost bald woman called her order up and attended to the famished-looking obese man who came in with an oversized umbrella.

I saw her. She held her box like it was an infant. She sat primly and stared at nothing.

The waitress came staggering through the crowded aisle of the café. The sun shone on her apron and she looked almost ethereal with her gold bangs and sweaty nose. She held a large tray, in it were a family of five’s orders, complete with a vegetarian pizza for the elder daughter and a meatball pasta for their sweet brat. She held the woman’s cup of tea on a smaller tray in her other hand. The obese man called her attention and as she turned around and miscalculated her step, she knocked-over a salt shaker. Miraculously, the food and tea were spared. She really must have been ethereal.

She apologized profusely to the lad. The lad smiled and said,

Hey, it’s nothing. It’s supposed to bring me luck, right?

That, it’ll do, sir.

She placed the tea in front of the woman. The woman stared at her cup of tea and requested for a small amount of milk. A child was throwing a tantrum and was yelling,


The waitress smiled her automatic smile and nodded. She turned her back on the woman to get a cupful of milk. The lad placed his hand in his right pocket and took out the small box. It looked as if he was keeping it in his socks drawer for several months now. He kept it under the table, of course. The café was still too damn noisy.

The woman thought of how milk disagreed with her system. How it made her want to throw up and pass gass and piss all at the same time.

The lady who was with the lad had roses for lips. She was all a-bloom, almost like she was springtime herself. She looks ready to burst with repressed joy. She stroked her trim tummy and laughed at the lad’s joke.

The vegetarian daughter talked about how much she liked the new boy in town because he wears Save the Kangaroos shirts to school. The sweet brat talked about getting a new hamster for his pet collection.

The wife talked about a luncheon she’s going to host for the senior citizens in their block.

The husband said nothing and ate his steak with gusto.

The woman sat there, the cup of milk now in front of her.

She thought of how much she hated milk and tea stirred together.

The obese man asked the waitress for another slice of their wonderful cake. He asked her not to skimp on the whipped cream too.

The woman stared at the building across the café. It was where she spent 14 of her precious hours in. She literally slaved there.

She talked. She sat. She nodded. She made coffee. She wrote. She read. She ran errands. She received paychecks. She typed. She got courted. She lost her positions. She dated. She gained new positions. She did this for twelve years.

The lad held the lady’s hand in his. She stared at her eyes and told her she looked radiant. The lady flushed and told him that he was a royal kiss-ass.

The waitress cleared the tantrum-thrower’s vomit. The father, mobile phone in hand, promised to give the waitress a good tip. The waitress thought the father looked cute.

The woman stirred her cup of tea with milk. She stared at the building in front of her.

She thought of how much she loathed tea and milk. She thought of how much she loathed the building in front of her.

She wasted twelve years there. She lost many things in that building.

She lost her father. She lost her beauty. She lost her mother’s pearl earrings. She lost her virginity. She lost her sex appeal. She lost her freedom. She lost her husband. She lost her dreams. She lost her dignity. She lost her fingernails on her husband’s paramour’s head. She lost her car. She lost her job. She lost custody. She lost her family.

The vegetarian daughter asked the waitress if she knew Bjork. The waitress nodded enthusiastically. The daughter said the waitress looked so much like Bjork. The sweet brat asked for a cup of water. If they had goldfish there, he added, just place it in the glass of water. The mother laughed. The father smiled in spite of himself.

The lady excused herself to go to the washroom. The lad smiled. He rehearsed the lines in his head over and over. He wanted it to be perfect after all.

The woman drank her tea with milk. She felt calm.

She thought of buying a box of prepared tea bags. Then she laughed her small laugh.

She opened her box.

The lad held the small box in his pocket. She looked at the woman. The lines in his head vanished. He held the small box in his pocket for what seemed like an eternity. He thought of how much he loved the lady. The lady in the washroom. How much he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

He thought of the salt on his shirt.

He thought of how a buttload of shit it was to believe that it was supposed to bring him luck.

The woman took the pin out.

There was a loud noise. In a fraction of a second, the noise seemed to be in harmony with the blinding light. In that perfect frame of time, everyone in the café venerated the feeling of shock and animosity. They swam in fiction-like fear and wallowed in it; they did that for there was a lack of place to find solace.


I felt as if my chest exploded with the blast.

I felt correctly.

This is exactly how I felt a decade ago.


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