Things I Learned From Cicely
Thing 1: Do Not Call Converse Sneakers
"Converse are not sneakers," she said to me sternly one day as we wiped the tables. "Converse are a thing above sneakers. They are to sneakers what Adele is to Ke$ha."
I rolled my eyes, checking the clock to see when we have our lunch break. "Uh-huh."
"Don't patronize me."
"Don't give me lectures on the differences between Converse and sneakers."
"If you had any semblence of intelligence, I wouldn't need to explain the difference."
Thing 2: Do Not Piss Her Off
The whole restaurant could hear it, and I really felt for her. There's always some obnoxious customer that comes and bitches out a waiter or a waitress, and tonight was Cicely's night. The guy was yelling at her, calling her all sorts of names. The astounding thing to me was that Cicely just stood there, a patient smile fixed on her face. Cicely might be good at her job, but she also had a short fuse. It was amazing the guy's head was still attached to his body.
After he took a breath, she went to relay his order to the kitchen. Silently I followed her. I found her in a corner, calmly clipping her fingernails.
She smiled at me as I approached. Again, startling. She had a short fuse, but she also didn't take well to any sign she'd upset someone, and she could be a little teary about it.
"Are you okay?" I asked uncertainly. She continued to deliver that serene smile to me.
"Absolutely." She swept the fingernail clippings into a little baggie and held them up. "These are going in his hamburger."
I gaped at her for a moment, then grinned. Her calm smile got a little more vindictive.
"You didn't hear that."
Thing 3: Lemonade Makes Her Sad
Cicely sat in the window of the restaurant, sipping a lemonade gloomily. I sat down next to her.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"It's nice out," she replied sadly.
I raised my eyebrows in the universal explain gesture.
"My mum and I would watch the sunrise when it was nice out," she explained. "And we'd have lemonade."
I nodded in understanding. I remembered last year when Cicely's mom died of cancer.
"And now lemonade makes me sad," she said miserably.
"Then why do you drink it?"
She shrugs. "It reminds me of Mom."
That also made sense. I put an arm around her and she leaned her head against my shoulder.
Thing 4: Don't Question the Books
I looked around Cicely's apartment trepidatiously.
"Mmm?" She was doing a crossword puzzle.
"What's, uh, what's with the books?"
She looked up in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"Well... you don't have any bookshelves. They're all just stacked around the apartment. And, uh, you have a lot of copies of the same book."
"Um, do you really need three different copies of a book about pirate ships?"
"They're all marginally different."
"And several books about the execution of Marie Antoinette?"
Her eyes narrowed. "You got a problem with that?"
I decided to let it go. "No. Not at all." Sometimes it's better to back down than persue the subject.
Thing 5: She is Too Christmas Cheery
"On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me! Some things I can't remember!"
She dashed into the department store where we were meeting, pink-faced from the cold. She was beaming.
"Cicely?" I peered at her. "Good Lord. Were you visited by three ghosts last night?"
"Shut up, I love Christmas." She grinned at me. "Don't you love it? The Salvation Army Santas with the bells, and the ringing sounds all christmasy, and carollers, and awesome things?"
"Salvation Army Santas are depressing."
"Party pooper." She grabbed my hand. "Come on, let's go look at Christmas decorations!"
She pulled me off towards the beginning of what I sensed would be a very long day.
Thing 6: Cobblestones Are Stupid
"Before we get to work tomorrow, I've got something I should tell you so you don't freak out," she said when she called me.
"Did you run off and marry a stripper named Vera?"
I'm firmly convinced that Cicely's eyes make noises like marbles rolling around when she rolls her eyes, and because of this, I can hear it when she rolls her eyes, as I was certain she was doing now. "Shut up, you asshole, I'm trying to tell you something important."
"Okay, okay, keep going."
"My face is going to be a little... bruised tomorrow."
I sat up a little straighter on my couch. "Do I need to beat someone up?"
"Psh, please. You'd break your hand if you hit someone. But it's the gesture that counts. No, no one hit me."
"Then what happened?"
She mumbled something.
"I said, I tripped in the street."
"I was walking across the street, and there was a patch in the street that was wearing through, and the cobblestones were out, and I tripped."
"You tripped... over cobblestones?"
I couldn't help it. I burst into laughter.
"I'm sorry! It's just... only you, Cicely."
"Shut up." She sounded amused, though. "So don't freak when you see me tomorrow, okay?"
"Okay. See you."