“You’re such a glass half-full kinda chick Jenna.”
I grin and reach but look at her like that (can I have this?) about her croissant and she nods and I take it and pull a bite off with my fingers. “Yes I am and it’s milk and I come with a cinnamon roll too.”
She actually sort of snorts a little and shoves me off of her and we’re grinning at each other and it’s nice. I’m still a mess wearing a sheet and she’s a mess wearing an oversized *Hunter Valentine* Bed shirt and sweatpants but we’re like that…talking about sex and loves and serious stuff like faith and then sort of goofing off like this.
This is like it always could have been and should have been and I’m glad that I got this back.
Taylor comes in with a big tray for both of us and they smell really, really good. I look at him and he smiles. “Coconut crisp waffles and with them some lemon sauce.”
Giselle holds up one of those plastic motel/hotel coffee decanters that for some reason we have and shouts. “Lemin-sous!” followed by “I helps!”
I look at Ingrid and she looks at me and we kind of do this double mom’s thing together on the couch as my husband and our daughter serves us coconut waffles with this lovely sauce that’s hot but thinned out enough to pour lemon curd/pudding.
I love this, I love my family.
We eat together and Taylor sits on the floor with Giselle and we’re just really enjoying the moment and the food is good.
The waffles are white standard batter but he put coconut in the waffle iron I’d have to say as he made each waffle and it toasted as the waffle cooked.
Toasty and very crunchy and the sweet is offset by his lemon sauce and then there’s the powdered sugar he sprinkles over the top making Giselle so much more than happy.
It’s a really good start to the day and we go from there.
For one Ingrid looks at me after Taylor takes the dishes and she watches him go and Giselle following him like a puppy.
(Big sigh.) “Okay, okay call the doctors, call whoever you need to Jenna.”
I smile and hug her. “Thank you, thank you for trying.”
She grumps about it some saying. “Yeah whatever.”
And I kissed her forehead and got online to get Dr. Clark updated on Taylor and then I bring up Ingrid and her case and the fact that we need help, at least consults with whatever he can find of offer or recommend and we actually end up skyping with him and he talks to Ingrid and he even takes down her medicare number off her card and her other information and he sets us up an appointment at his clinic for Friday.
I head down to work as Ingrid takes over the computer and she’s still talking with Dr. Clark but he’s going over more things in a more counseling thing and I take the opportunity to hit the shower and get cleaned up to start the day.
I check with Taylor first and then go out for a run.
I used to do a lot of working out as James but transition changes that because I don’t want to go back there and stuff but running helps me. It clears my head and the workout kick helps me too.
I grab a bottle of water, take my hormones, and some vitamins and skarf down a granola bar and I head to the loading dock and run the stairs ten times up and down before I head out.
I run towards my hopes and future as I let all the bad stuff out and leave in the dust behind me.
I’m not gone long I don’t really have to be just a couple fast laps in the area and I run them hard enough to get my heart pounding and the blood flowing and burning off fat.
Honestly it takes about twenty minutes of jogging to break even in the stuff you take in daily so I go for about forty and when I get back I do six more stair up and downs. I mean it’s literally only eight steps but it’s something.
Stuff with my therapist Dr. Wilson’s helping me with getting past the be small, get smaller very often transgirl kind of obsession.
Even if I don’t talk about her much I’m still seeing her and we do a lot of stuff through texting actually.
I don’t lean on her like a crutch like some folks with social anxiety so we’re not doing it all the time just updates and comments once in a while.
Which is why we’re doing it this way.
Then it’s off to shower and I can smell things going in the kitchen and the baking already.
I inhale deeply.
I love the smells of the baking.
I love the water pressure in my shower. The apartment’s small but where we’re the diner too we’re equipped with better than home water use and that gives us a great shower.
I’m getting better hair too, it’s actually grown out from the shave from before to a nice length and I play a bit until it looks cute, then lotion, make-up (just a little.) then getting dressed and I head downstairs.
The students are there already getting things baked off with breads for the diner and sandwiches, the biscuits and then there’s the morning rush started up with the front of house and I go and take over counter front while Taylor does the behind the cook counter and gets to speed up now that I’m there.
It’s fun, not just fun but home.
People we know or are getting to know are coming in or picking things up and there’s fast chats and talks as we’re doing all of that and Holly has the speakers cranked up enough that it’s not background music but stuff we can bop to and that’s customers and staff both.
Including me and that’s kinda one of the things that makes Mavericks the place it is.
Heck after the rush the music goes a little higher as we clean up and I get some of the street kids that showed up doing some of the clean up too and dishes as we open the laundry room and I take a couple of volunteers into the baking kitchen and we get started with the rest of the baking and Taylor takes one into the cooking kitchen and starts teaching there too.
Tim even stopping by for breakfast and Holly kisses asked a kid and an older guy looking down on his luck to go and do day labor.
It warm here, and we feed them like staff and they can do their wash and even use our wifi here.
And y’know a lot of them aren’t goofing online or messing around they’re legit trying, looking for work and building resumes and things.
Kendal’s in the office doing our office work but Dad’s there too doing his stuff and helping out and both are helping the kids.
Dad’s got his legal shingle out offering advice.
Hey a lot of us have legal stuff, a lot of them have legal stuff too and it costs cash to travel to the lawyers that might...might offer free advice. Dad’s just doing that to help out.
We’re busy here, but there’s this amazing little spark of might here hovering around people like little hope pixies and it’s there’s a warmth that’s deeper than just the kitchens going on.
A lot of getting ready for dinner/lunch crowd too especially as the delivery orders start up.
It’s sort of Italian day so we’re doing minestrone and wedding soup and pasta sauce as well. Taylor’s making sausage ground and teaching that and getting loads of it cooked off with other things we use to make different variations on pasta sauce. Our students are making pasta and focaccia bread and I’m learning that while the kids with me Kayden and Jess today are making rolls and feather rolls and bread with things added like dried herbs and corn meal and all these other cool tricks.
We learn to make gnocchi.
And Kayden comes up up with it like a red sauce kinda mac n cheese dish we can add to as ordered and I put that up as one of the eat in specials as “Kayden’s special.”
They/he looks embarrassed and happy and a little stunned.
Kayden’s a non-binary trans kid and they were born a girl and they’re so not...but they’re not a guy either.
Hey, takes all kinds and live and let live right?
Only queer kids that don’t fit fall through even the cracks in our community.
Besides, I don’t need to get it all I need is to respect them.
But Kayden does say that. “I’ve never seen someone else put my name to something. Like my real name.”
I smile making more mix for the gnocchi. “It was a good idea.”
“But...but I’m not, I’m no one Jenna.”
I stop and look at them.
“I think you’re someone Kayden. I think you need someone to give the real you a chance.”
They look at me. “Jenna, don’t die.”
“You...you’re trans, this whole place is trans friendly, queer friendly, you get us street kids...we need you, we really need you.”
They start crying and ugly crying wiping away tears as fast as they come and I clean off my hands and go lean on the counter beside them and lean on them and give them a one armed hug.
“Dude I’m not going anywhere, Mavericks isn’t either and yeah I’ve been there.”
They nod still wiping things away. “It’s...it’s just been so hard y’know I never fit the whole person my family wanted and we fought and fought and they leveled the guns with my house my rules and it was either leave or a bottle of pills in the middle of the night...and it’s hard out here...and I mean I’m trying to be me but that’s eaten up by just trying to survive.”
I nod. “Been there with the pills too.”
I nod and we get back to work and I talk about before Taylor and the group homes the club work and losing hope and everything getting an audience of the other kids and we could talk more but the lunch rush hits and we’re busy.
The gnocchi goes over really well and Kayden has this look like just maybe having something to be proud off for the first time since being themselves and it does go over really well as our third best seller in house following the spaghetti which is always number one then soup is number two.
Wedding soup… veggies like onions, celery, carrots and then lots of stock and roasted chicken added in with fresh herbs and garlic all cooked long and slow then finished with escarole greens and sausage meatballs and we serve it with a dollop of pesto and bread.
And Minestrone...All the usual veggies in olive oil and stock of course and Taylor adds in some chilies for a bite and canned tomatoes and then there’s cannellini beans and chopped italian herbs like rosemary, basil and a little oregano then little pasta shells.
He does two kinds of that one vegetarian where he adds more onions and some red onions if we have them because it looks nice but a bunch more celery too and some diced potato just before it’s done.
The Mavericks Minestrone has smoked pork shanks that he rubbed down in liquid smoke and roasted at high heat added to it as the base stock cooks and stay in there until the meat falls apart and parmesan cheese. We top that with this pinch of really thin, thin sliced pastrami and served with bread.
Soup, bread, coffee, dessert is always our best in house seller.
The trick is making it cheap so really big pots and reusing everything. Like all the stems, peels and stuff is always the next batch of stock, get as much out of everything as we can.
As much flavor and goodness as we can punch into everything.
And soup and bread is $4.00 even so that, coffee, dessert is under ten and that’s pretty popular.
And we do make money off it too, not loads but it’s volume sales and the bigger return is off the dessert and well regulars, repeat business, and our local deliveries are rising too and that’s all helping us all.
Ingrid actually comes down too during it all and she takes over just doing the cash for me actually doing a good job and knowing how to use the debit machine and all that stuff and I smile at her.
“You okay to do this?” I ask.
“Yeah, I need to do something to get off my ass instead of just feel sick and being stoned to get by.”
“That’s helping you though.”
“I want to try okay, I don’t want to be a freeloader and I’m lonely.”
Taylor says. “Good, welcome, you have customers!”
She and I laugh and we keep going.
We have to get her a stool after a bit but she’s good after that and Giselle ends up sticking close to both of us and out of the way. She looks at me and at her mom like she’s trying to get what changed, what got better or how.
I know Iggy sees it, feels it too and I can see her trying.
Trying’s all I can ask for.
It’s a start.
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