Monday, December 19, 2016

The Time I Sent The Fish Back

"Is the cod fresh?"

The waitress, who is blonde and sweet and young, beams with pride. "Yes, of course it is," she says. "Just in this morning."
I order the cod. It arrives steaming hot, with perfect mound of mashed potatoes. I poke it with my fork. The fork sticks in it, quivering.
I lift it to my mouth, waiting for the flaky goodness to melt on my tongue. It does not melt. I chew. After concerted effort, it separates into stringy fibers. This is not fresh, unless fresh now means freshly defrosted.

What to do?

The girl looks so sweet. Somebody's daughter. A student maybe. Possibly waiting tables in order to pay for her degree in nuclear engineering.We are in New England. With clean salty ocean air only minutes away.

"Is the fish ok?" she asks. She looks worried. She should look worried. Still, I hesitate, not wanting to hurt her feelings. "If it's not," she adds, "you can have something else. It's really not a problem."

Remorse. The girl is dying with remorse. She knew the fish was frozen. But she lied about it. Now she wants to make amends.

"A salad," she suggests. "Would you like a salad? I'm really sorry about the fish."

"Thank you," I say, gratefully. Glad for the both of us.

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