My God I miss my friends. Not that the ones here in my new city aren't wonderful, because they are, and they're some of the best friends I can imagine having! But I just finished a nice long chat with my friend H, who worked at the restaurant with me for almost two years, and I fucking miss the shit out of her. Starting work in a restaurant again has really reminded me of how fantastic "the" restaurant was--our kitchen was immaculate and deep cleaned every night, our kitchen staff fucking rocked, our front of the house staff worked damn well together. We were a small, tight, rarely-changing team, and you just don't find that in most restaurants. We were all there for the long haul--I mean, for crap's sake, my boss punished me with shitty sections for the last two months before I started law school because I dared to leave. I wasn't supposed to leave! We were supposed to all be together forever. (Or at least until the state shut the place down for the owners' failure to pay their sales taxes, but that's another story for another day...)
That was such a special time in my life, and it's just... over. I feel sometimes like I have had many fragmented lives, like all the different parts of my life are separate and almost mutually exclusive, and I just ache to return to some of those times occasionally. I miss the people from those periods, I miss the parts of my life that I fear I'll never have again. I'm afraid I'll never again work with a small group of people who know me almost as intimately as one can be know--and who still want to get drunk with me after work. I'm afraid I'll never feel the closeness I felt with the people at the restaurant or the people who sang with me in choirs or the girls in my boarding school dorm. I'm afraid I'll never feel like an important part of a group, a team, again. I'm afraid no one will ever depend on me to really come through for them again.
I just miss some shit so friggin' acutely. I miss it so hard it hurts in my gut and in the middle of my chest. I miss it enough to not be able to breathe sometimes. I miss the old restaurant--I really loved that place (minus my fucking bitch boss). I loved how it looked and how we all sat around together on rainy late fall days when it was gray outside and gray inside and no one was coming in for dinner and all we had to do was sit in the lounge* and look outside or at each other. It was so peaceful, and contemplative, and not at all lonely. We were all in it together. I loved the restaurant as we all trickled in to start our sidework before we opened, when some of the lights weren't on yet so we slid the silverware out from under the napkins which had covered them for the night and righted the upside-down water glasses and set out wine glasses and B&Bs in the muted light from the skylights** and the windows, and everything was quiet and still. I loved the restaurant late at night, after all the guests had gone home and the kitchen had been cleaned so we had to stay out of it for fear of leaving footprints on the floor and thus incurring Sam's wrath and the lights in the back were off and and going to the bathroom was a little scary because what if the restaurant really was haunted and the bar*** lights were low so that everything just kind of glowed and we were all hunched over the bar in our own worlds quietly sipping our shift drinks and calculating our tipouts and completing our [OMG I can't remember what our reports were called, they had a funny name] and then we began griping individually about the shitty tables we'd had and then as a group about the fucking mistake one of us had made and then suddenly we were giggling and pulling out the journal and memorializing the event for us to laugh at later and then we were laughing ourselves out of our chairs, and it was dark, and we were together, and it was wonderful.
I miss those people so much, I miss that feeling of togetherness, of oneness, of belongingness. I'm so afraid I'll never have that kind of experience again. I really truly loved my co-workers, they were my family. And I miss them all so much. Some of us have moved, and some of us have just moved on, and it's so painful to remember and to so desperately miss and to know that I'll never have it again.
* The lounge:
** The view from the ramp: tables 31 - 35 (and 40 and part of 41), the hostess stand, bar, the lounge. Sunlight. It looks like this picture was taken in early afternoon, which was earlier than we would've usually been there. We had to be there at 5 MI time (4 IN time), when the sun was a little lower and a little more golden, and the patches of light were more diffused. It was so peaceful.
*** The bar. I spent many, many hours laughing and occasionally crying here.