Falafel Joint

The falafel joint. I open my mouth and ask for more tzaziki sauce. The guy behind the counter says, sure. He’s polite and attentive. I like him.

I sit back down and continue eating until I realize my bus will be arriving soon and I have to take this half-eaten meal to go. “Could you wrap this up for me?” I have problems finishing things. The only things I am sure I can tie up are ribbons, out of a weird instinct to give gifts. I’m always shy of my recipient’s response, having left myself in a bow.

He takes my plate, sees my sauce is half empty, and asks if I want more. Why not; he fills it up. Then, without my notice, he takes my falafel cakes on the plate by his gloveless fingers and stacks them: one atop another, to make room for more rice. The gesture, completely innocent, is unconscious to him, the cashier, and everyone else in the place. I don’t mind it.

When he’s done, he looks at me and asks: do you want more pita? This, though, is what is too much. “Only if you have,” I say out of politeness. He reads my statement; the response is to swiftly move to the oven and grab a whole bun for me.

“Don’t be shy,” he tells me. Shaking my head, I thank him and leave.

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