The Dairy Queen

I've reconnected with one of my old workmates from Dairy Queen through that online showcase meant to impress the people we never liked in high school anyways. Only, our reconnection was very sincere and one of the few reasons I am glad to have spent hours shamelessly plugging myself and euphemizing all of the stupid ways I've spent my early twenties.

Lola, my former DQ mate, just posted pictures of her wedding. I can see from the pictures exactly where in our little hamlet-on-the-Lake she was married. I can also see her smile and know that she was happy on her wedding day.

Lola and I go way back to my first days at DQ. She was one of the few who stuck it out for all of the summers I spent there, and she continued on as an assistant manager after I went away to school. We worked a lot of hours together and we worked well, because Lola worked hard and she was not a talker-behinder-of-backs. She always had a handful of suitors, some punk rock, some clean cut crew boys. They would constantly stop in to ask if she was working, and what her schedule was for that week. I could tell why they liked her. She always spoke sweetly. She was very talented - she had an amazing singing voice - but leveraged it with humility. And she was very pretty. She's still beautiful, in a Jennifer Aniston in "Office Space" next-door girl kind of a way.

I was only fifteen when I first trained in perfecting the Q-top cone. I couldn't work past 9 p.m. I was so so young, when I think about it, not just young and naive, but young and so inexperienced. Sometimes Lola and her boyfriend would break up and my other co-workers would tell me that I should let her "do dishes in the back." I didn't understand the scope of that back then. Needing to not deal with people, even Blizzard addicted people, because your heart, your fragile teenage heart already fizzy and aching from trying to contain all of those hormones and confusion, had been shattered in multiple places. But eventually, I would learn what it was to have a broken heart, and to be visited by boys at work, but not when I was only fifteen.

I feel as though I spent a thousand long years at Dairy Queen. For me, it was what saved me from myself in high school. I was such a loner, mostly by choice because I was trying so hard to do the right thing all the time. Dairy Queen forced me to take my social inexperience to the front counter, along with my unplucked eyebrows, my size A cup chest, my total fascination in boys with cars, while Lola mended her broken hearts in the back, doing the dishes.

I saw her smile in those wedding pictures, and I felt such happiness for her. Happy for her present bliss, and happy to have known her during high school, even when we were both probably a little sad on the inside. I hope her marriage and her life are as sweet as the wedding cake she was shoving into her new husband's face in the picture.

How's this for poetic justice? Lola became a pastry chef after she realized that decorating DQ cakes had netted her the most satisfaction in this life.