So, it’s been a week now since my final shift at my restaurant, The Flying Fish. Due to the mountain of adversity that we faced, our owner finally told us that it was finished. I walked in to work that Tuesday and my boss broke the news to me. When I walked out of the office, shell shocked and upset, I saw that one of our cooks was crying. I looked at every face that I’ve grown to know and love and care for over the four years I’ve been there and I saw the same thing in them that I was thinking.
What do I do now?
It was a terrible week for me, because I walked in and started freaking out about my future. I had left the Fish before to pursue some other goals and ambitions and both times I did, I returned. One time I didn’t even really leave because I was there helping every weekend anyway. That isn’t something that you do for a normal job, but that wasn’t a normal job.
It was my second home.
In the four short years I’ve been there, the people all over that restaurant became family to me. We laughed together, we cried together, we celebrated together. We fell in love together and we had our hearts broken together. We have seen so many ups and downs, and I think that for me personally, the worst down was realizing that I wasn’t going to get to see those same people every day.
See, when I started at The Flying Fish I was in a bad place. I was broken inside. This was before my business was what it is. This was before I had even begun to understand anything in my life. I worked there as a dishwasher and listened as my friend Kerk would talk to me about music and life and weed, and we would share jokes and even though he would intimidate the shit out of me, he was a genuine person. He really loved those people. Then, after our work Christmas party Kerk passed away. I watched as people left and re-joined, and because of their influences on my life I had come out of this shell that I built for myself and began to smile at work. I introduced myself, I tried new things that I never would have in any other circumstance.
I loved every second of time that I spent at that place. I watched friends get into relationships, I tried to get into my own. We did so many things and I couldn’t tell you about all of them in this one blog post. I do know, that I replayed every single one that day when I saw our dishwasher walk out of the restaurant on our last night crying.
That killed me inside.
I’m writing this blog post because though all of this, I had to write it. I wouldn’t be stable today if I hadn’t written it out. I would still be sitting at my dining room table crying my eyes out at the loss of my home. Because no matter how many times I came back to work, I knew that it would end. All good things must come to an end.
I’m sorry that we went out how we did, but dammit it was so much fun.
Tuesday night, after our shift was over I was out talking with Josh and Mike behind the restaurant, and told them goodnight. When I did it stuck with me. “See you tomorrow” wasn’t some infinite catchphrase anymore. We only have so many tomorrows left. As I climbed into my truck I really thought about that, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. We only have so many tomorrows. When you count them down, I guess that you grow to expect the pain of separation that much more, but it won’t help.
This life is big, and confusing, and scary so often, and it is made up of a finite number of days for each of us. We don’t know the end, we personally don’t have the advantage that the Flying Fish had of knowing that we were on the verge of collapse.
We don’t know, and because we don’t know, we can’t waste a single second. We have to get up on every tomorrow and kiss our lovers and hug our friends and do good things. I think it’s important for me to carry that message into my future forever. That place was my home, but it wasn’t because of the building or the food or the wages.
From start to finish, it was the people that made that restaurant home. Every damn one of you have carved your own little place inside my heart and I’m so happy to keep you there. Thank you, from Riley to Sara to Mike to Marisol to Kerk.
You have changed everything for me with all of the little things that we talked about. Every second with each of you have provided me with a wealth of knowledge and lessons and laughter.
I can never repay that to you, but I will pay it out once more with each step forward. The lessons I learned through all of you will come in my next tomorrow and my next laugh and my next job.
There will never be another Flying Fish, but I’ll be damned if I don’t carry everything you taught me into the night at the end of my last shift.
I love all of you, and I’ll see you tomorrow.