The next day Camille and Pierre got thrown in head first to cafe life. We had a tour bus coming at noon. Forty-one people from the South Dutton Cattle Breeders Association. They would be having sandwiches, passionfruit cheesecake and their choice of tea or coffee. Everything needed to be clean and set up for them by the time they arrived. Pierre helped clean the barn while Camille and I worked on the sandwiches.
When Alex came on the clock I let her take over my spot with the sandwiches so I could work on putting out dishes, napkins, silverware and the welcome sign. In between the preparations we were still taking orders from people walking in the cafe. It hadn't been too busy but I know there were a few coffee sales.
After drawing a beautiful chalkboard welcome message I reentered the kitchen and found Alex working alone.
Alex turned around and let out a big sigh. I knew she was about to tell me something bad.
“She is outside talking to Yollana. I think she wants to leave.”
“What? Why? What happened?” Camille hadn't even been here twenty four hours yet so I can't imagine what made her come to a conclusion so quickly.
“I don't know. I was showing her how to make a milkshake, and then a coffee order came in. I told her how we make coffee and then she just started crying and she walked out.”
I was in a stupor. Alex was the kindest, most patient instructor I had ever met. There was absolutely no way she could have overwhelmed or belittled Camille. There was something else upsetting her.
“That doesn't make any sense.”
“I know. I felt bad but I did not know what was wrong.”
I poked my head around the corner and saw Camille talking to Yollana. She had tears running down her bright red face and she looked very distraught. A few minutes later Yollana came in and saw Camille wants to leave the island for reasons she didn't understand. Fortunately, Camille was willing to work the remainder of her time here. That was great because we had a lot to do that day.
We finished up the sandwiches, plated the cheesecake, prepared the coffee and cleaned the tables just in time for the tour group. The South Dutton Cattle Breeders Association was full of lovely people. They were mostly older and very pleasant. They loved the food and told us so multiple times. While they were eating Matthew and Alex ran the cafe and the kitchen while Camille, Pierre and I kept the tour bus full on coffee and void of dirty dishes. We all worked very hard and at the end of my shift Matthew told Alex and I that we ran 27 tickets and had over a thousand dollars in sales even though $600 was from the bus. It was a very busy day for the cafe and Pierre and Camille handled it like champs. We told them how proud of them we were before taking our breaks for the day.
Grateful that my shift was over, I sat down on the front veranda to read the new book I had just bought in Kingscote. I had been very careful to only buy one book. The used bookstore was so intoxicating but I eventually made it out with a winner. It was an Australian novel about a young girl who spends her life writing books. A twinge of excitement passed over me as I opened the cover and began reading the first page. I was two paragraphs in when Pierre appeared in front of me with a bowl of cereal. I put the book down and listened as he talked about his job predicament.
Pierre was a licensed diving instructor and had several years experience but for some reason he couldn't find a diving job in Australia. He recently read his email and discovered he had a diving instructor offer in the Dominican Republic. This was great news but bad timing. If he were to accept the offer he would waste his one year Working Holliday Visa in Australia. Once the visa is granted you have exactly one year from the time of your arrival, no matter the circumstances. As badly as Pierre wanted to stay here, he hadn't found any work and had been here a month already.
We sat discussing his options for a few minutes before Matthew came and joined us. A few minutes after that Saha found our group and joined in as well. Saha had also arrived over the past few days. He was Uzi's son, a beautiful six year old boy with curly brown hair and a sweet demeanor. He was much more background than his sister, Leila, who was the queen of everything. I hadn't much talked to Saha because he spent most of his time doing boyish things with his companion, Ash.
“Hey guys, want to see a trick?” Though I was hoping everyone would leave so I could read, I couldn't resist Saha's cute little voice.
“Sure. Whatcha got?” I leaned forward and watched as Saha's eyes got wide and turned to Matthew. Matthew grinned and I wondered what they had plotted.
“What's one hundred and twenty three times seven hundred and forty five?”
Saha rolled his eyes back and began working the problem in his head. Five seconds later he responded.
“Ninety-one thousand, six hundred and thirty five.” I looked at him and then looked at Matthew.
“Is that right?” I asked. Matthew closed one eye and thought for a minute before nodding his head and smiling.
“Do another one!” Pierre said. “What is seventy three times ninety-two?” While Saha set his mind to work I pulled out the calculator on my phone. Before I could type in the question Saha responded.
“Six thousand, seven hundred and sixteen.” I looked at him with a face of shock.
“How are you doing that? I can't even use my calculator that fast, much less my head!” Saha simply grinned and asked for another one. The math quiz went on for a few minutes. I was laughing because I couldn't fathom it and the boys were hollering encouragement to the young kid. It really was amazing.
After a dozen math problems we all decided it was time to move inside because the mosquitos were ruining all the fun. I found a quite place in the lounge room and opened my book. This time I read a full page and a half before Matthew came in the room, harassing me about the dead mouse he had found in our room.
I told him I wanted to read by myself but I felt guilty—like I should be making supper since I was now the only other woman and Yollana was closing the cafe. So I talked myself into it and decided to make a vegetable stew for dinner.
I turned my iTunes app on shuffle and began chopping vegetables. The music was relaxing and the kitchen was inviting so I decided to crack open a Corona as well. This was nice. I missed this. Back home I loved a nice quiet evening to myself, cooking and humming a good tune in my kitchen with no one else around. The pleasant feeling lasted about five minutes before kids came running through the kitchen. Ash stopped when he got to me and started moving his hips.
“What is this?”
I looked down and giggled. My phone was playing “Rapper's Delight” and Ash was loving it. I turned it up and he continued to dance. I laughed. Erin then came in the kitchen and began hula-hooping to the music.
“Watch this!” She pulled the hoola hoop around her neck and wiggled around like turkey. Ash was on the floor doing some kind of breakdancing and I was recording it all on Snapchat. The pleasant feeling had returned, but in a different form.