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Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason


knows that imposing a social contract on anyone would translate into imposing one on
everyone."
The fun in watching this scene unfold, Bonnie subsequently noted, was that we knew
Helena was a personality powerhouse, regularly attested to by her hulking husband's immediate
obedience whenever he somehow faltered in his duties as cook. In a musing manner, Bonnie
offered that Helena was usually the epitome of decorum in an honestly affable way, and that only
a lightning strike or her husband could change that.
Having not seen either dare appear during dinner, I said that regularly running upstairs to
help her mother take care of Helena's infant daughter was probably taking its toll on her today.
"I don't think so—a mother knows the look. Helena comes back refreshed from those visits.
It was the infant in the restaurant that made her crazy."
"That guy really was a pain in the ass," I chortled.
"No more than I'm sure she's handled many times."
"So what’s her problem?"
"Your lightening strike from across the room hit her in the heart."
I had no idea what she was talking about.
"Jenny, you, and I enjoyed a gro wing friendship with her until you effectively stated that
you are a customer, and she is your waitress. In that moment, she understood that the
considerable time you spent chatting about sailing in Greece, and oohing over her child, whom
she regularly brings to us, was a sham. It was all about you."
Perplexed, I said, "We are customers, and she is our waitress."
"Which matters how?" Bonnie's stare opened my mind, and in a dampening moment I
understood that I had imposed a social contract on Helena. I did not bother to assess whether I
based it on gender or job, or because she was an immigrant. I had presumed I was her superior
and unwittingly treated Helena like an indentured servant, not an equal who happened to work in
the service industry.
"Shit, I didn't mean it that way. I'm going to straighten things out." I said, sliding my chair
out.
Bonnie stopped me with a tap on my hand. "Don't bother. She won't be fooled a second
time."
I started to protest, but it lost momentum in my throat: I was embarrassed, a nd confused that
I felt sad; losing a waitress was hardly catastrophic.
"It doesn't take much to lose a great deal," Bonnie said.
My thoughts raced in search of a more meaningful loss, and I thought I found it. "I've ruined
your relationship with her."
"That's not your concern," Bonnie said in an offhanded manner. "That’s between us."
I knew that such statements were not concluding remarks, but that they were aimed at
having me discover what my concern should be; I didn't have far to look. With a queasy fee ling,
I mentally tallied the number of women I had treated like my servant, before dismissing them.
The count was not remotely complete before it struck me that I was slated to be crushed by a
relationship when these events came back to me.
"No, it doesn't take much," I said.
When dinner was over and Helena brought the bill, I complimented the meal, which she
accepted graciously. I next told Bonnie and Jenny that I would be grateful if they would allow
me to pay for all of us.
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