Categories > Original > Drama1 Reviews
Phil Makes a friend on the other side of the glass.
Once, that happened once. And so what if he did fall headfirst into a table full of food and cover himself in cake icing? One slip up did not set the tone for his entire existence.
Phil really liked his job, honestly. Yeah, he'd hated it at first, having to actually talk to people but it had built up his confidence to no end. When he had started he'd barely been able to speak clearly for the worry of doing something wrong but now he would smile and even joke with the more friendly customers. He would occasionally still get nervous around customers but once they started talking he'd loosen up and be back to his usual charming self.
It was a regular day at work, nothing special, that it first started happening, the tapping. Phil was clearing a table, staking the plates on top of each other with the glasses and cutlery balanced on top so he could take everything back to the kitchen at once when there was a sudden tap at the window in front of him. He jumped at the noise, eyes darting up to the glass ahead to see what it was. On the other side of the glass was the shocked face of a boy. He had light brown hair with a fringe that swept over darker brown eyes which were wide with disbelief. He was wearing a leather jacket over a white shirt and his hand was in a loose fist hovering in the air by the window pane.
Phil froze too, staring back at the worried face before him before slowly lifting his right hand and waving, offering a small smile to relax the guys dear-in-the-headlights expression. It worked a bit, some of the tension left his face though his eyes stayed wide, and he moved his hand side to side, uncurling his fist as he did so.
"Phil," a voice called, snapping Phil back into reality. His head shot round to see another of the waiters, Chris, walking past with a tray of used plates. "Are you nearly done?"
"Oh, yeah, nearly done," Phil replied as he turned back to the table in front of him, his cheeks heating up. Chris pats his shoulder as he leaves and Phil chances a glance back at the window.
The guy is still there but now he's full on grinning at Phil, eyes sparkling and his face soft with amusement. Phil can feel his cheeks get redder and he bites his lip nervously, his gaze flicking back down to the table top, before he picks up his stack of plates. He wipes the table quickly, using the cloth he keeps at his waist, before he dares looking up again. The guy is still there, smiling at Phil so Phil smiles hesitantly back, waving his hand holding the cloth before he turns away from the window, cheeks still hot, and makes his way to the kitchen.
He half stumbles on a chair leg on the way and he hopes that nobody noticed. He doesn't look back to check.
The tapping doesn't happen again for a while; Phil has all but forgotten the incident with the window and the guy, only the vague imprint of slight embarrassment that promises to surface when he's had a bad day and he's trying to sleep, so when it happens again, just as hesitant as the first, little over a week later Phil all but jumps out of his skin.
He also drops a glass.
It doesn't break when it hits the floor but Phil is too busy spinning around to look at the window to notice. Brown hair, brown eyes, bright smile. It's the window tapper. Phil blinks, mouth opening and closing, he doesn't quite know what to do and he doesn't have time to think of something before the brown eyed window tapper is waving and walking off down the street.
Phil stands frozen for a moment before the sounds of the bustling restaurant around him bring him back and he kneels down to pick up the glass he dropped, thanking his luck that it's not damaged, before picking up the rest of the used cutlery and heading towards the kitchen.
He's taking an order the next time it happens, laughing at a joke a customer had told and jotting down food in his notepad. The first tap escapes his notice then his ears pick up the second but the guy outside has to full-on knock before Phil turns his head to the window. He grins and waves, receiving a bright grin in return before he turns to catch the end of his customers order.
Phil works out a pattern to the knocks on the window. It takes him longer than he cares to admit to realise it but he worked it out none the less. Every Tuesday to Thursday afternoon at half past three and Saturday afternoons at two there'll be a quick tap or knock at the window and his day gets a little bit brighter and work seems a little less tedious. Phil sometimes catches himself looking at the clock just to see how close it is until he gets to see the brown eyed boy on the other side of the glass. He often shakes his head at himself, scolding himself for being so eager to see someone he doesn't even know. Still, even on the days he feels most down and the least happy with himself and his life and he hears the familiar knock at the window he'll look up and smile with the guy on the other side.
Phil drops a plate on a Wednesday when the knock on the window is very loud and happens right next to his ear. He doesn't get the chance to look out of the window. His boss was doing a sweep of the restaurant floor, checking everything's up to scratch because there's an inspection coming up soon. Phil gets yelled at, in front of paying customers no less, and the cost of a new plate is taken out of his pay. The restaurant is silent when his boss goes back to the kitchen to check on everything in there, grumbling about clumsy waiters. Chris shoots Phil a sympathetic look and some of the customers do too. He just crouches down and starts to pick up the shards of broken plate, his head bowed and eyes stinging.
It's not his boss's fault; he's just stressed about the inspection. He has every right to be angry. Phil is clumsy anyway, far too clumsy for this job. It still hurts though, being singled out and made to feel incapable. Phil frowns; if a tear falls he wipes it away before anyone can see.
The boy at the window is completely forgotten but he's seen everything, even the tears.
There's no knock the next day.
It doesn't register as it should with Phil. He continues with his job and he's extra careful when he carries things around. He's not as bouncy and cheerful as he was before the shouting incident but he still smiles and jokes with the customers, his smile just fades when his back is turned. Chris sticks close when they have shifts together, telling stupid jokes and making Phil smile. He's so busy trying to be perfect for the inspection he doesn't notice there's no knocking on the window.
The inspection goes well and his boss apologises for yelling at him, saying that he had no right to do so. Phil waves it off, like it hadn't been ruling his life for the past month, and says its fine. He understands. It takes a day for Phil to work out something's off but it takes a week for him to catch up with what it is.
Okay, so Chris points it out but Phil is pretty damn sure he would have worked it out soon. "Hey, Phil, you fall out with your friend or something?"
They're both walking to the kitchen, trays full of dirty cutlery and plates. Chris has a stack of glasses in his left hand and he gets to the door before Phil, turning and leaning on it to open it and walking backwards into the kitchen. Phil holds a hand to the door, helping to keep it open as he walks in too. "Uh, what friend?"
"That guy who knocks on the window on his way to work," he says as they put their trays down and stack the plates by the sink, "The one you're always waving at."
Phil freezes as Chris picks up his next order, leading the way back out to the restaurant floor, before jogging to catch up with Chris. "We're not friends, I don't even know his name, we just kind of… wave at each other?" he trails off, voice lilting up to form a question at the end.
Chris frowns and gives a table their order, smiling and asking for them to let him know if they needed anything else, before walking with Phil to clear the empty tables by the window. "I assumed you were, you don't usually smile and wave at strangers."
Phil shrugged and started stacking plates, "It just kind of happened," He sighs and looked over at Chris, biting his lip. "I didn't even realise it'd stopped."
"Really?" Chris asks.
"Well, not exactly." Phil runs a hand through the back of his hair as he picks cutlery up with his other. "I knew something had changed, I just didn't realise it was that. I was a bit busy worrying about the inspection."
"I wonder why he's stopped knocking," Chris says as he wipes down his table, "He still walks past he just doesn't come up to the window anymore."
Phil frowns and picks up the dirty plates before walking back to the kitchen.
Phil puts on a smile for customers but there's almost always a small crease between his eyebrows from a thought that's not all the way there yet.
Phil sees him, every Tuesday to Thursday afternoon at half past three and Saturday afternoons at two, like clockwork he walks past. Sometimes Phil catches the tail end of the boy looking, getting just a small glimpse of brown eyes and sweeping fringe. It makes Phil sad when the guy just passes by what happened? Did he do something; did the guy just not want to wave at Phil anymore?
He tried not to look, really he did, but he knew what was meant to happen and what was happening and it just played on his mind so much he physically couldn't bring himself not to look to the window at the usual times. The guy didn't even look at the restaurant anymore.
It's been nearly a month since Chris helped Phil realize his window knocking … what would he be classed as? He wasn't really a friend, they'd never spoken, but he felt more familiar than a stranger. Maybe he was just a friendly neighborhood window knocker? Maybe he knocked on loads of windows and shared happy smiles with everyone he came across. Phil frowned and decided in that moment that he would learn the name of the boy from the other side of the window.
He'd seen the guy walk past today, he'd had earphones in and he was wearing a large black jacket with fur lining the hood with black jeans and black converse. That had been about half an hour ago. That in itself was not anything special, but what made this time different was that he stopped to look into the restaurant. Phil hadn't been out on the floor while he'd been looking but Chris had. "I waved for you, though he might've just thought I'm a crazy person." Chris said as he walked past Phil carrying a table order. "He looked kind of sad but he smiled a bit."
"Oh," is all Phil could come up with to say to that, "thanks."
At the mention of his name the dark haired waiter turned to see his boss coming over. "Yes?" Chris bumped Phil's hip with his own and walked off to his table. "Is something wrong?
"No, nothing's wrong I just need you to run to the supermarket to pick up some ice cream, there's a birthday meal going on later, a friend of mine, and they've requested some Ben and Jerry's flavour or other," he says holding out a pad of paper and some money, "Could you?"
"Yeah, no problem," Phil says as he takes the items being held out to him.
"There's a list of the ice cream we need on the paper," he adds.
"I'll go right away," Phil replies. His boss smiles and gives him a thumbs up before walking back towards the kitchen. "Hey Chris, I'll be back in a bit," He calls as he makes his way to the door. He holds it open for some customers to come in and smiles in greeting before leaving.
The nearest supermarket is only five minutes away so Phil doesn't really need to walk quickly, but he does anyway, the usual chill of evening is starting to creep noticeably into the atmosphere and he kind of wishes he's grabbed his jacket.
Phil gets to the supermarket and is momentarily blinded by the bright fluorescent lighting before he ducks his head and makes his way to the freezer section, pulling the list of ice cream from his pocket and reading it over. Six tubs. Who in the heck could eat six tubs of Ben and Jerry's, how many people were going to be filling up the restaurant exactly?
Phil grabbed the tubs, thankful they had everything that was on the list, and made his way to the checkout. He put them all on the conveyor and they scattered like fallen skittles so he had to grab them and round them up into a somewhat presentable and inoffensive group. The cashier joked and asked if he'd been through a bad break up Phil went along with it, pretending to sniffle and wipe a tear from his eye. They shared a laugh while Phil put his items in a bag and stuck his hand in his pocket for the money to pay with.
They told each other the usual 'have a nice day' spiel and Phil was so wrapped up in actually trying to mean it that he didn't see the head of brown hair and warm brown eyes two registers up watching him and smiling. He didn't even look up when he walked past, too busy re-reading the list to make sure there were no extra flavours hidden on the notepad.
The party had gone great, though Phil and Chris had had to stay and work late; there had been twenty people, easy. He'd overslept that morning and it had thrown his whole day off. He hadn't had time for a shower and he only ate half of his toast before he'd had to leave his flat to get to the station and catch his train. Today had not started out as his day.
There was some festival going on so the restaurant was near dead, everyone eating from stalls out on the street. Most other shops and restaurants had closed up or had a stall amongst the others. Phil kind of wanted to go and join everyone outside all bundled in coats and scarves with big, woolly hats. Phil was stood at the window, trying to see the tops of the lights on the buildings further down the high street.
"Phil," Chris says from right bedside his ear. Phil jumps, spinning slightly and he ends up hitting Chris's chin with his shoulder.
"Oh, sorry Chris," Phil says, gripping onto his friends shoulders and ducking his head to try and see Chris's face to make sure he's okay.
"No worries," Chris says, grinning at Phil and clapping him on the shoulder, "I just came over to tell you we're closing early today, just clear the tables and we can go."
"Oh, really?" Phil asks disbelievingly, things never work out in his favour.
"Yeah, so," Chris trails off, "You going to clean the table now?"
"Oh, right, yeah," He smiles and goes to clear up tables, bouncing as he goes. Maybe he'll be out in time to see the Christmas lights go on.
Phil misses the lights being turned on by about a minute but he doesn't mind. Everyone gathered outside was excited and happily going from stall to stall beneath the newly lit Christmas lights. Phil was stood to the side looking up at the lights and the dark sky, wishing he had a camera so he could capture the view and maybe get a couple of shots of all the people smiling and clinging onto bags of roast chestnuts all cuddled up in their coats and scarves.
Phil looks down and locks eyes with a familiar set of brown eyes across the high street. Maybe it's the feeling of festive cheer around him, or maybe it's just his inner child, but Phil full-on grins at the guy across the street, he even waves too. The guy looks taken aback but soon bursts into what looks like laughter, Phil can't hear it for all the commotion around him but he feels like if he tried he'd be able to pick it out… if he knew the pitch of the guys voice, the guy smiles and waves, a little less like an excited toddler than Phil did but it makes Phil happy all the same.
The moment is broken when a large family passes in front of Phil and he loses sight of the guy across the high street. When the family group is gone Phil looks for the guy but he can't see him. He scans the crowd, squinting like it'll help him see further.
"Hi," a voice nervously says beside him. Phil squeaks in surprise and steps back into a wall, hitting the back of his head and squeaking again, bringing his hand up to rub at his head. Phil turns his head to see the guy with the brown hair and eyes who'd been across the road only moments ago and he grins again, still running his head.
"HI!" Phil greets, embarrassingly brightly. He feels his cheeks heat up and he ducks his head.
What follows is a silence which can only be described as uncomfortable. Neither knows what to say and neither wants to break the silence. Phil is still rubbing his head like he can't bring himself to stop.
"Are you alright?" the guy says awkwardly, ducking his head a bit to try and see Phil's face.
Phil turns his head to the guy. He looks concerned, like he genuinely cares, and Phil can't form the proper words to say that, yeah he is fine he's just seriously socially awkward. So, naturally, the only thing he can say to that particular piece of human kindness is; "You don't knock on the window anymore."
The guy blinks and opens his mouth to speak before shutting it and looking at his feet, scuffing them across the floor for good measure.
"I'm… did I do something?" Phil asks. "I mean, I really liked having someone to smile and wave at," he pauses as he's talking, dropping his hand from his head, "is that weird?" Phil sighs. "I just liked having that, it was a little break from the… well, everything, you know?"
"I got you in trouble!" the guy exclaims. Phil blinks owlishly; looking at the guy like is crazy.
"No you didn't, today is the first time we've ever spoken, why do you think you got me into trouble?"
"You dropped the thing, the plate, and then that man was shouting at you," the guy says, looking up at Phil, "I could nearly hear him through the glass, I'm sorry, it was my fault," he sighs and waves a hand in the air before running it up the back of his head, "If I hadn't made you jump it wouldn't have happened."
Phil shakes his head, eyes wide and earnest. "Don't worry about it, it was a stressful time. If it hadn't been me it would have been someone else." The guy looks dubious and raises an eyebrow. "I'm glad it was me really, that way it didn't have to be anyone else." Phil grins. "I bet I jumped about a foot in the air,"
The guy blinks at Phil, unsure, but then his face breaks into an answering grin, a laugh caught on his breath. "Yeah, you did fly up a bit. I seem to make you jump a lot."
Phil shrugs, still grinning. "I'm a very jumpable person." The guy freezes for a moment before he breaks into laughter. Phil is so, so glad he got to hear that laugh and his grin softens to a fond smile before he starts to look confused when the guy won't stop laughing. "What?" he asks genuinely confused.
The guy looks up and, at seeing Phil's expression, tries to school his features into a neutral expression. "Never mind, I'm Dan," he says, a grin slipping out as he holds out his hand to shake.
"Phil," Phil replies, smiling and taking the offered hand. "Nice to meet you Dan."
"Nice to meet you too," their hands are still linked but neither of them cares much, continuing the motion of the shake, "Want some chestnuts?"
"Sure," Phil smiles and turns to lead the way to the closest vendor. Their hands stay linked between them, an unconscious action as they walk.
Dan smiles at Phil and uses his free hand to knock on Phil's head. "Hey!" Phil frowns for a moment before smiling at Dan.
"I'll go back to knocking then shall I?" Dan asks.
"I'd like that." Phil replies as they get to the chestnut vendor, his smile morphing into a grin.