and so it’s me that’s sorrypublished: 2014-02-06
So she looked at me, the nanny, on passing in scuttled and quiet frenzy. A stray cat, shooed out of the breakfast room. Her boss had come now. He was a bloated white man in a linen blouse, no doubt carefully ironed by her. I could not detect a single crease. His two sons were still screaming for the iPad she had taken with her. The one she had tried to stop them from watching, fully knowing their next screams would be to turn the volume up. And up even more. While drinking orange-juice from the bottle. While not looking at her when she spoke.
With her back turned to her boss we locked eyes, she and I, and her lips mouthed “sorry” to me. And I wanted to get up and go after her, to say, “no. No, please. I’m sorry.”
I’m sorry for all of it. For the couple that entered the breakfast room, in their hard-working self-made auras. These two had smiled warmly and appreciatively and it had come as a relief to me. Then their coffee seemed to be taking too long. The man pulled the friendly waiter towards him. While clenching his teeth behind a smile he hissed how important coffee was in the morning. Wasn’t coffee important? Didn’t the waiter agree? No? And then he gave the waiter a little smack on his thigh, the waiter’s bottom being higher than the man had expected.
This waiter had been so friendly. He had worried over our eggs and the fact that public transportation was down. He had been surprised that I knew where Eritrea was.
Yet as he returned from the other table I could se his face. Something had stiffened. His smile had made way for compliance. A confirmation that yes, the other man felt he needed to smack him on the bottom because coffee was so important.
Coffee. I considered. Indeed, we must never forget how important coffee is. Important enough to justify having transported millions of men and women to work the coffee-plantations for us when we first discovered it.
Nothing really changes, does it? And so it’s me that’s sorry.