Mondays are my first day back to work after my weekend. I start at 3 am and only work with one other person for the rest of my 8 hours. An older man who is our dishwasher whom does not speak English. I do not speak Spanish.
Despite our great age difference and language barrier, he is one of my favorite people to work with. We communicate in our own little way. We always say the same thing to each other every time he starts his shift. Hello, how are you? Good, you? Good. In Spanish. Then it all transitions to unspoken communication. We always joke with each other; he pretends like he is going to knock over whatever I am measuring, pretends to grab what I am measuring out, etc. It’s always fun.
I always make him baked goods. Whenever there is extra of something, I made or testing a new recipe; I give it to him first. Then joke to my other coworkers. Don Jose got his pick, now you guys can have the rest.
On Mondays, there is always a crazy mess of dishes leftover from the weekend, ones that would take a seasoned pro like him hours. Then he helps me scoop my hundreds of cookies.
So on Mondays, I always make him something special to take home. There has been banana bread, cinnamon rolls, a few cookies, normally just what we already make for orders. But today, I decided to make him something completely different. An old fashioned marble pound cake. It’s one of those recipes I would call old school and have never actually made. I found a recipe, and it came out amazing. Dense and buttery with a really defined contrast of dark and light.
So after it came out of the oven and I was showing off to him how pretty it looked, I shoved it toward him and said It’s for you!
For me? he answered questionably. Yes!
Then I set it down to cool, but there is still always that communication barrier that always means we really don’t understand what each other is saying. So once it was cool, I wrapped it up and wrote a label on it with his name.
So as he was leaving, he said again, For me?
Oh, thank you.
No, thank you.