An Education, III


she has a job in a restaurant
a fast-food restaurant;
and her coworkers talk all day
about relationships
because there is nothing else to do.

they talk about the cook's baby
and the manager's brother's wife
and all their boyfriends
(for they are mostly female and young).
they also talk about
what they will wear to prom
or do on their birthday
or go for the summer
or take in college;
but mostly
they talk about relationships.

this is somewhat annoying;
for, as you already know,
she really doesn't give a damn
about that kind of thing.

they ask her if she has a boyfriend.
she says no
(and by "no", she means "why do you care?")

they ask her why not
she says no reason
(and by "no reason", she means "why should I?")

they say she should get one
she says maybe
(and by "maybe" she means
"I am complete unto myself,
and I require no other to impart meaning
to my life; for, you see,
there are things much bigger, much grander than that;
and I have seen those things
written in the bare branches of winter,
and the wind which whips the snow
into a froth on the peaks of mountains,
and in the brilliant orange corona
of the Horsehead nebula,
and the cold mist of dawn
over San Francisco bay;
and if you, too, had seen these things
you would not need to ask me why
I have not surrendered myself to another
and you would not give me advice which,
while well-meaning, can only do me harm.")

she wants to quit, but unfortunately
the cold mist of dawn
over San Francisco bay
does not pay very well.