The next plate came in a matter of minutes. In the hour she spent at that restaurant, she tasted more than 10 dishes and almost the same amount of beverages. She only got to taste a couple of desserts because time was running short and she had to make it to a previous appointment. She thanked the people at the restaurant and promised then the review would be out soon. Their faces hoped for a good one but Laura would have to take her notes and think twice before writing one way or the other.
Just outside the place, she took a taxi and headed straight to her best friend’s house. His name was Samuel and he was celebrating his birthday at home, with a nice dinner and party with many people that he loved to hang out with. Whenever Laura and Sam were together, they were normally just the two of them. It would be one of the only times she would join him in a big party and she did it only because he had always being so good to her, including recommending her to the job she had at the moment.
As Samuel worked as an software developer, he knew a lot of people in the world of journalism and such. He recommended Laura for a job at one of the biggest newspapers in town and she was very eager for the opportunity but he interview was a real nightmare. It was obvious they preferred to hire someone they knew and, for the looks of it, there were at least three other people the day of the interview that were very well acquainted with the editor that was handling the process.
She waited a long time until she was called and then she felt he cold attitude of the editor. It was clear that woman didn’t want Laura there, so she just answered her questions the best way she could and, in only ten minutes, she was out of there. She felt so bad after the interview that she decided to buy a big tub of ice cream to eat at home watching cartoons or something. It was only a two weeks after the interview when Laura finally heard from the newspaper. She had been selected for the post.
The day she went in to sign her contract, Laura asked why it had taken so long for them to call. After all, it was a writing job and those were assigned fairly fast in normal circumstances. The man that greeted her there told her, in confidence, that the editor than had ran the interviews had been fired because of several misconducts and potentially criminal behavior. Besides, the person she had selected was clearly not the best one for the post. Laura did not ask any further. She was very happy to get a job in she could finally do her two favorite things.
When she got to Samuel’s house, Laura hoped she was early and could talk to him a little bit before more people arrived. However, she didn’t realize her time at the restaurant had been too long and that her taxi ride had been too slow because of the traffic jams that plagued the city at that time of night. When she entered the apartment, she saw several people all over, more than she had ever seen in such a small space. She moved around carefully, trying not to push anyone.
Samuel had not been the one to open the door. Some girl that didn’t even say a word had done that and she had disappeared almost instantly. Laura moved around, looking for him friend. Eventually she got to the dining room table were all the food was in display. She grabbed a plastic plate and grabbed some of the things around the table. It was an assortment of food, not only sweets or savory stuff. There was a little bit of everything and she could bet Sam had not done any of them.
Laura turned around to look for a place to eat what she had taken but there was no place to do so, so she stayed put and grabbed a piece of quiche from her plate and ate it whole, because of the size. Something funny was that Laura never really felt full when eating, so she could do it for a long time and she would only stop once she felt really full. That’s why her job was so ideal for her. Nevertheless, the piece of quiche she had in her mouth was not the kind of food she liked.
In seconds, she grabbed four or five napkins and spit the whole piece of food into that. She placed the ball of napkins and chewed quiche on her plate and headed for the kitchen. She was sure she could find a garbage can there and maybe even a space to eat the rest of the stuff. Although, maybe, everything else was as dreadful as that tiny piece of quiche. She had never tasted something that tasted so bad before. It was difficult to describe, in the worst way possible.
Once in the kitchen, she found the garbage can and a spot besides the burners. She couldn’t see her friend there but Laura knew she would eventually see him. It was a bit ridiculous to be in his house and not been able to talk to him at least for a while. The thought of her talking to Sam was interrupted by a cramp, one of those that make you squeal. It was very fortunate that the music was so loud. If it hadn’t been like that, people would have heard a dreadful scream coming from the kitchen. Laura grabbed her belly and looked for a glass or something similar to have some water.
As she didn’t find any and had no problems with shame, she drank directly from the faucet. No one was watching anyways, they were all very concentrated on their conversations. Weary of all other food elements on her plate, Laura decided to smell them and taste only the tiniest pieces. There was one that looked like cake but it was very salty. She had grabbed some cookies but they were rock hard. And something looking like Chinese rice was undercooked.
There were some other things in there but she decided to throw away everything. She chose the worst moment to do so because it was right then when Samuel entered the kitchen and saw her. He waved his hand but she clearly didn’t see him while drinking more water and then doing this face that made it clear how awful the food was. When she noticed Sam, her expression changed and she launched herself at him, hugging Samuel very hard, as they usually did.
When they did, she realized she had not taken off her coat because she could still feel the gift she had brought to her friend. It was in a box on one of her pockets. Laura took the wrapped box out and gave it to her friend. Samuel didn’t look very happy. Nevertheless, he took her by the hand and travelled through the mass of people in order to get to his room, which was empty except for a big mountain of coats and similar clothing. Laura was surprised she could hear her own thoughts there.
She apologized to Samuel for being late and waited for him to open his present but he didn’t. He looked at her with a very serious expression, a very judgmental expression to be precise. For a moment, she didn’t really understand what it was but then she realized he had seen her throwing out the food, so she explained that it was just dreadful. She detailed the flavors for him and advised him never to let his friends cater ever again. It was obvious they had no idea about cooking.
Samuel threw the box she had given him to the bed and said that his guests had not cooked anything for him. If that had been the case, he would have wanted her to do something for the party, like the cake for example. Instead, he explained how he had cooked every single dish.
He had wanted to make it a surprise for everyone but especially for her, as he wanted to be supportive of her recent job and just to connect with her in his own birthday. He sighed and left the room, leaving a very confused Laura, whose belly roared as soon as Samuel was gone.