Chapter 5-There Would Never Come a Time When Jimmy Stopped Drinking

A yellowed menu from Chef Manuel's
Chopping the cabbage for the salad kept Marina's mind off Jimmy, who was three feet away from her setting up the rice cookers, one for brown rice and one brown rice with red beans. Chef Manuel looked from one to the other. Could he tell they were fighting? She couldn't trace back how the fight had begun once Jimmy came home at three in the morning very drunk. Her only memory was of herself throwing one of her black clay pots against the wall, screaming at Jimmy, then moving her fists toward Jimmy and instead turning them on herself, pounding her own head as hard as she could. Now they weren't speaking.
He and Chef Manuel were whispering and laughing. Marina wondered if they'd started drinking. It was only two in the afternoon. There would never come a time when Jimmy stopped drinking. In that moment she knew. Jimmy's every moment had to do with drinking. He loved drinking more than he loved her. It had been the rum and not her he'd stayed all night for that first night. Danny had said as much when he walked her home from the Solidarity meeting. “You're never going to come between Jimmy and his true love.”
After the diners arrived and the food orders began to pile up she had no time for Jimmy. The shift went quickly and today was her last day as a salad helper. She had her jacket on and her bag slung on her shoulder and was almost at the door when Manuel grabbed her. “You can't go. We're giving you a surprise goodbye party after closing.” She could see Jimmy just behind Manuel. “I've got to go right to the paper. Tonight we're putting the paper to bed and they're expecting me to come.” Marina thought Jimmy was about to cry.
She felt a second of pity and then a surge of triumphant rage. She wanted to say, now it's your turn to know what it's like to be with someone who always has something more important to them than you.