I still can’t believe it, but Monday was my last day at the restaurant.
I spent eight years of my life working there. It’s the only job I’ve ever had (well, only real job… I still hate thinking about that stupid shit I got wrapped up in when I was a kid). It’s just kinda hard to believe that it’s all over now.
Everyone was so nice my last day. My boss gave me a fancy bottle of wine as a little goodbye present. It was really nice of her. She’s always been good to me. And Denise actually wished me good luck! It was a simple gesture, but definitely unexpected. Maybe she really does have a heart in there after all.
Tante Joce and Grandpa are still all worried that I rushed into things, of course. They think I should have waited til I had more of a plan before quitting. But they just don’t get how miserable I was working there! I couldn’t do it anymore.
At least Hope gets it. I came home from my last shift, and she was waiting for me with a little “Congratulations” cake she made me. It was so sweet (literally… Those boxed cake mixes have always been too sweet for me. But it’s the thought that counts!). If there’s one person I can count on to support me through this, it’s her.
It just really sucks that she had to leave so soon. Yesterday she left for a shoot back in her old stomping grounds – Five days in San Myshuno. You’d think I’d be used to her being gone by now… She’s been traveling a lot for work ever since we first started dating. It’s just been a little more often lately, ever since that big cover shoot. And it’s never fun when she leaves, but I’ve always had work to distract me when she’s gone, y’know? But not anymore. It’ll be kinda weird sitting around the apartment by myself all day.
Anyway, the good news is that with all this free time, I finally got started on some research for making my menu. I mean, I’ve gotta start somewhere, right?
Ur-Oma told me I should check out the attic for some “reading material” I might find useful… That definitely piqued my interest, so Opa and I climbed up there yesterday afternoon after I dropped Hope off at the airport. We found this giant box way back in the corner that just said “Lucas” on it, so we grabbed it and brought it downstairs with us right away.
I got all excited for minute, but when we opened it up, I realized that it wasn’t that Lucas… It was Lucas Ainsworth. My great-great-great… Well, you get the idea. Everyone in our family knows about him, mostly thanks to my great-great-grandpa’s book.
I think I was the last one in the family to know about him, actually. Tante Joce didn’t let me read Dust to Dust until I was twelve years old… And looking back, I think I know why. She wanted to make sure I was old enough to know the difference between fact and fiction. She didn’t want me getting my hopes up like I always used to when I was a dumb little kid. But I don’t think she waited long enough.
I’ve never been big on fishing, so I’ve only gone a handful of times over the years. But whenever I do, even after all this time, part of me always secretly hopes I’ll catch an angel fish.
But I’ll never tell Tante Joce that. I know that’s stupid. Ghosts aren’t real, and you can’t bring the dead back to life. It was just some stupid story Alex made up so he could make money when he came to Windenburg. It was all a lie.
Or at least, most of it was.
Lucas Ainsworth was a real person. And he really did have a restaurant back in the US. An incredibly successful one – it’s still around, even to this day. And in that big box Opa and I dragged out of the attic, we found all of his old notes and cookbooks. Hundreds of recipes. Hundreds. Talk about inspiration! I’ve been reading and taking notes ever since.
This is so exciting. For the first time in my life, I finally feel like I’m working toward something meaningful, y’know? Something I’m passionate about. And I feel like maybe I’m finally making my parents proud of me. I know they were all about doing what you love and following your heart… And that’s exactly what I’m doing now.
I’ve been listening to some of Papa and Onkel Florian’s old albums while I work, and in every single note Papa plays, I swear you can feel it – that excitement. That energy. That passion.
It’s the way I feel every time I look at Hope.
And, for maybe the first time ever, it’s the way I feel when I think about the future too.