They all loved her, the embodiment of selflessness.
She was always there, just a phone call away, waiting to listen — to sympathize and to make anyone feel better about themselves.
She was neither a nurse, nor a psychiatrist. She was a waitress, waiting tables for a job and pacifying people for mere satisfaction.
So many people knew the waitress, not her. She had been a waitress for three years, and it didn’t matter where she came from or what she did before that. She lived alone and never went on vacations. Some thought her an orphan, and anyway, she was too busy during weekends. She hardly had the time for anything except the ones who asked for it. They’d call her for money, to pick up an urgent present for a loved one, for advice, and to whine about love . And every time — she would listen.
And she seemed happy. She would smile and nod in acknowledgement. She would sit on the couch and give her rapt attention to anyone who needs it.
She knew of the love lives of all her neighbors, and of Mrs Nextdoor’s problems with her dog. When kid upstairs told her about the new girl in his class, she smiled, ruffling his hair.
She would come in early for work and stay until the manager closed the restaurant late in the evening. If anyone needed her, they knew where she’d be.
One fine day, she didn’t show up for work.
Her phone was dead, and no one knew her address. They waited. The needed her to listen; no one else would.
But she never came back.