Grayscale: Part Three

Grayscale: Part Three

Grayscale: (n) a series of regularly spaced tones ranging from black to white through intermediate shades of gray; an image composed solely of gray scale tones.
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Grayscale is a series of short stories that look into the lives of others, seeing the world as they do, peering through the windows of their lives. Is it black and white? If you missed Part One, read it here. If you missed Part Two, read it here.

Today was hard. He wouldn't tell her that, though, she would worry. Moms always worried about everything. But, today was hard. Maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe tomorrow, the sky won't be so gray. "The storms will come, and they will pass, too," that's what grandma always said. At least, usually right after she said something about God being great.

I can't recall the last time he was great to me.

He was tired. Not physically tired, but the kind of tired you felt in your heart. The kind that suffocates, the kind that lays on your chest, stifling your breathing, and threatening to take your life. The kind that fills your head with thoughts and your eyes with tears. Tired. It's probably time to get up. He put on the clothes he laid out the night before, grabbed the coffee that the machine was kind enough to make while he was in the shower, and headed out the door. Oops, almost forgot. He grabbed his smile from behind the mirror. Its worn-in edges and chipper grin greeted his coworkers as he walked through the front door. What a beautiful day. What a beautiful day, indeed.

Some time passed. It passed slowly, like a train through a town that's known for people on the tracks. His hands made familiar motions. His mind thought the same thoughts. What a beautiful day. Lost without a purpose. To be fair, it was no different than the day before. No different than the one before that, too. Lately, he couldn't remember one day that seemed to be different from the rest. Am I ever going to make a difference? 5 o'clock, ticks the clock. Punch out time is the best time, indeed. That is, if you have something to go home to. What's it gonna be today? Pizza that will eventually take the money I have for my bills, or the same leftovers I've been eating for five days?

He chose the leftovers, and they were, indeed, the same ones from the day before, and the one before that, and the one before that.

The leftovers were bland like the show on the TV, it really didn't have a flavor, no story to be told. The moon howled and the streets glowed, they blew light into the windows and cast shadows on the walls. One of those shadows moved, and thought. Thought about the moments that he missed, about the opportunities that he let pass by, and the people he had never met. As he walked to his bedroom, he put on the familiar blanket of tiredness that laid on his chest every night. He laid down, put his head on the pillow, and closed his eyes. A single tear fought its way past his clenched eyes, and fell with a thud on the pillow. His whole body shook, and many hours later, for the first time, the world went black.



Cover Image Credit: HD Wallpapers

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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For Ollie

I don't think Ollie could ever understand just how much he has given my family. But I know he will be up in heaven blissfully chasing tennis balls, swimming in murky water, and saying hi to everyone in sight.

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There is going to be a hole in our family that will never be filled. There is going to be silence where your paws once padded around the kitchen. There is going to be a sad feeling in my chest when I don't come home to your wagging tail and smiling face.

This week, my family had to say goodbye to our 9-year-old black labrador, Ollie. Ollie was diagnosed with cancer at Christmas and a few months ago we found out it had metastasized. We have been doing everything we can to keep him comfortable and his quality of life high. But we decided, to keep him out of pain, to have him put to sleep.

Mary Frances Bellman

Ollie is like a brother to my sister and I. He is happy all the time, a great listener, and the world's biggest lover of tennis balls. He is mischievous and full of personality while simultaneously being the most well-behaved dog out there. Ollie says hi to everyone and anyone at the park, no matter who they are, and he absolutely loves a movie night with his girls. Every time we go to Virginia Beach, Ollie becomes a puppy all over again, rolling around in the sand and jumping over the waves. He'll even chase a crab or two. Ollie has made friends with all of our friends and in the process, he has touched the lives of so many people.

We picked up Ollie from The Wall's house in Wimbledon, England when he was just seven weeks old. He whimpered all five minutes it took to drive a few blocks home. When we got him out of the crate, Dad picked him up by the scruff of his neck and showed him around our house: his new home. Ollie was immediately drawn to our garden. It soon became the site of many fun puppy memories.

Grace Bellman

Ollie was terrified of Dad at first. As soon as he'd hear Dad's voice, Ollie would come running and sit shaking on the closest family members lap. Now, he couldn't love Dad more. The two of them are quite the pair with their similar optimistic outlook and kind hearts.

We moved to Texas with Ollie in the summer of 2012. He arrived at our rental house, extremely relieved to be off the plane and out of quarantine. After struggling with a couple bouts of anxiety and depression, Ollie became accustomed to his new American life. He had to get used to walking on the leash again due to the different laws in the US vs. England, and he found a new appreciation for cold, hardwood floors in the Texas heat. When we moved to our permanent home, Ollie fell in love with our swimming pool. He had no fear and embraced his waterdog genealogy right away. Some of my favorite memories involve all four of us swimming on a summer evening with Ollie chasing the tennis ball back and forth across the garden with contagious joy.

In the winter, Ollie was the best companion for opening presents under the tree and making s'mores by the fireplace. He would get a little too close to the marshmallows for comfort but never crossed the line (or at least not that I know of…). His big brown eyes would droop as he fell asleep at Mom's feet every night in front of the television. Those simple nights-in are something I think we are all going to miss dearly.

To be honest, I haven't really experienced a loss quite like this before. Ollie, although not a human being, is so close to my heart. He has been by my side through all of middle school, high school, and my first two years of college. He has never failed to put a smile on my face, and has listened to me when no one else would. Ollie helped Josephine with her AP Art projects until the early hours of the morning and "assisted" me in my circuit training workouts in the backyard. He always gave Mom some company while cooking meals and sat loyally behind Dad when he was doing papers at his desk.

Grace Bellman

I don't think Ollie could ever understand just how much he has given my family. I can't help but wish there was something more we could do for him. But I know he will be up in heaven blissfully chasing tennis balls, swimming in murky water, and saying hi to everyone in sight.

Ollie, you will be missed down here on earth greatly. We love you.

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