Prose Poetry by CLS Ferguson
The Long Slow Close
The Buddhists are really on to something with this whole non-attachment, I thought to myself. Usually I disagreed with this idea. I imagined trying to be non-attached to my family, to my ideas, to my pets, even to the Souplantation, and it seemed like absolute torture. Beyond torture, really—truly unmanageable. Like my life’s meaning would evaporate, or at least significantly lessen.
But this moment was different. Robert stood there breathing heavily after telling me exactly what I had done wrong closing the soup bar. We should have been finished and out of there by 10 pm, exactly an hour after we closed weeknights. But this particular Wednesday was busier than usual. All of my tricks of the trade for getting out early were useless. Too many people wanted too many soups. Wanted too many pastas. I couldn’t keep up with my bar being full of food, much less any of my pre-closing duties while we were open. Hence, it was 10:28, and I was at least 15 minutes from finished.
Robert was usually helpful. He would clean and fill when I got behind, even bring me the hot water and sponges I needed to scrub the bar down once the food was put away. We would usually finish well before our allotted hour was up. But not tonight. Tonight was a night when we were in violation of working past 10 pm, the latest a minor could lawfully work on a school night without being emancipated. Luckily, it was our first violation, and we had remembered to clock out on time.
At this moment, having just taken in all of Robert’s shaming, I did my best to simply detach. I took a deep breath, blinked my eyes, and simply walked away. Part of me wished Robert would follow, but upon my fifth or sixth step away, I detached from that wish, too.
Photography by Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle (Minimiam) & Greg Lotus