…and I missed it.
I can’t believe it. I want to whine “It’s not fairrrrrrrrrrrr!!!”. If I could go back in time and do things differently, I would.
And I. Missed. It.
Woe is me.
I have eaten lunch in the school restaurant every day of this friggin’ course. Every. Single. Day. Every day, come 1pm, there I am. Every day, there is Happy Chef, smiling and joking and being lovably zany. I wait for the freak-out… I wait, and I wait, and I wait. I begin to forget that it was even a possibility, so sweet and funny and entertaining is Happy Chef.
And then, today, after a teaching practice that fell so frustratingly short of what I needed it to be, I decide that I’m simply not hungry, and will maybe just grab a sandwich or something later on. I end up being kidnapped by a couple of classmates who refuse to let me mope, and insist I accompany them when they go out for lunch. I return, somewhat cheered, to find another classmate waving frantically at me from the classroom.
Hayley! Your favourite person… Crazy Chef-
-Happy Chef, I correct her. She shakes her head wildly, her eyes alarmingly wide.
No, no… CRAZY Chef. He is completely mental. You missed it. He freaked out-
He WHAT?!!! I cry, devastated. I mean, come ON. I’ve waited for this moment, on tenterhooks, even, for the best part of a month. And it happens on the one day I’m not there to witness it? Seriously: devastated.
Marta looks half-frightened, half-amused. Which is exactly how I imagined I would feel on the glorious day when Happy/Crazy Chef finally freaked out. I envy Marta her frightened amusement and amused fright.
Cathy had asked him for a small portion today because she wasn’t very hungry, she explains in hushed, awed tones. She sounds like someone might sound if they were describing being held up at gunpoint in a convenience store (“It all happened so fast… I can’t quite take it in…”). But his wife brought her a normal sized portion… and he went insane.
I stare at her, uncomprehending. So… wait, what do you mean, Cathy complained and there was a big scene?
No! says Marta, still apparently in a state of shock. His wife brought the food… Crazy Chef saw and… and…. FREAKED OUT. He started screaming and swearing and shouting and throwing stuff, and then he attacked the door. Like, attacked it. Beat it up. Seriously, Hayley – as in, there’s a hole in it now.
Oh, oh, it is too much.
I scurry off to the restaurant to get my first afternoon coffee a little earlier than usual, and meet three people along the way, who are dying to tell me the same story with the same dazed expressions on their faces. I hate them all.
Hayley, hello, big coffee for you of course! sings Possibly Mentally Unbalanced Chef, looking as docile and charming as a Blue Peter presenter. I grin nervously at him, and then edge towards the kitchen door when he turns his back on me to make my coffee.
There is an Actual Hole in the door.
Enjoy your lessons, have a great day! says Insane Chef with a beaming smile, giving me a little chocolate biscuit for no reason other than the kindness of his heart. Were it not for my classmates’ collective state of shock, and the fist-shaped hole in the kitchen door, I would not believe anything out of the ordinary happened here today.
But it did, and I sodding well missed it.
[Names have been changed, as always]