For Just a Night


Urgently require one waiter at Japanese restaurant for just a night
Paying $8 /hr
Please call 06235187

A night was enough. A night would do.

Someone is paying me to move on with my life. I am a fucking genius.

Dimly lit and decorated with overly artistic paintings and expensive sculptures, it was not the kind of restaurant I go to. But she would love this place, I thought.

With a polite smile plastered on my face, I peered sheepishly into the diners’ area, looking for someone to report to.

A lady in a white kimono recognised me instantly and gave me a smile she gives to customers.

‘You are the part-timer?’ She spoke with an accent I knew.

‘Yes, I am. This restaurant is beautiful.’

‘Oh, thank you!’ She gave me a different smile this time. ‘Hold on, I go get the person.’


A Japanese guy came and passed me a black uniform and made me change into it. I did and now I looked like one of them.

It was not yet time for work so I spoke to the lady in white kimono. I told her I speak their language and she was sceptical. We then chit-chatted in Japanese and she was impressed.

My job was to be in the kitchen and to serve the food when they were ready. I was never a kitchen person. But I am a money person, so for that night I was a kitchen person.

Turned out that the kitchen is actually one of the most wonderful places to be in. The colourful ingredients, the many aromas, the inside jokes between cooks which I did not catch, but grateful for anyway.

A Caucasian chef was bending over the table preparing her Japanese cuisine diligently. The newer, junior chefs were inquisitive to a fault, struggling to ensure the taste of their foods, and their rice bowls.

The smells that permeated the kitchen. Ahhh… the smell of the deep-fried karaage just lifted off the crackling pot of oil. It was the kind of smell so dense and heavy that you knew how it would taste like. The kind of smell that made me close my eyes and take deep breaths like she taught me to. I smiled and wondered what wouldn’t she give to be standing in my place right now.

The chef interrupted my breathtaking moment and ordered me to carry six bowls of goodness to our guests. I lifted the tray and had the luxury of appreciating the golden-fried pieces of chicken up close. It makes even a vegetarian like me want to sin. I was jealous. At that distance, the smell alone is enough to make someone thankful for being alive. But since I cannot have it, it made me want to kill myself instead.

I walked through the kitchen door and stepped into the air-conditioned room and held out the tray for a Japanese waitress to serve the food. Meanwhile, I was just staring at the bowls of karaage glistening under the warm orange lighting. If there was a naked brunette in the room, I had not noticed.

I watched as a balding businessman in a suit dug with a spoon into his bowl. He seemed happy. I learnt from her that good food makes people happy.

She would be too when I bring her here, I caught myself dreaming again.

A foolish wish I discarded when I reminded myself that there are things in life we cannot force. Like food that we cannot share; love that we cannot have.

My hours were up all too quick. I clocked out and bade goodbyes. Pulling the jacket around myself, I stepped out into the night and wondered what’s next.

A night was not enough.


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