Croissants were most definitely not supposed to be chewy. Simone didn’t know a lot about cooking, but she knew that much. She put it on the butter plate and moved on to the scrambled eggs. The toast wouldn’t cut easily and when she picked up the edge of the toast with her knife, she saw that the whole middle part of the plate was wet. She felt a little ill, unsure if the water was from poorly cooked eggs or if the plate had come straight from the dishwasher. She poked at the tomato, her hunger gone. The tomato was very overcooked. The skin burst where Simone poked it and it spilled across the plate.

Anywhere else, she’d leave. Not pay; just stand, tell them it was disgusting and walk out. Her brother brought over her coffee with a huge smile on his face.

‘Can you believe I’ve actually done it?’

It was his first café after slogging his way through the suburbs and learning the business. Simone was sure he’d make it – if he fired his boyfriend from the kitchen.

David looked at the plate and immediately read the weak smile on Simone’s face.

‘Oh. What’s wrong?’

Simone didn’t answer, so David picked up her fork and poked at the plate. His mouth became very small and Simone thought she could see tears forming in his eyes.

‘David. I’m sorry, I just can’t…’ Simone wished she could fake it, and just force this food down, but she’d never been able to force food down. Not food like this.

David set down the coffee. He took the plate away. Simone took a sip. At least the coffee was perfect.


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