“That’s so sweet of you to offer, Debby, but I think I just need some time to process what I might be facing before I try to talk about it. Maybe we could discuss the presentation over lunch instead,” you add, turning to your boss, forcing a strained smile onto your face.
“No, no, you shouldn’t be focusing on that at a time like this,” he says, his shoulders dropping in relief. Clearly he doesn’t feel like talking about maybe-cancer any more than you do. “We’ll just take your mind off everything with something tasty, uh-uh-uh.”
You try not to grit your teeth, and to look grateful.
You wouldn’t have bothered if you’d known he was planning to take you to SaladXPress. Even the croutons here somehow look wilted. You load up on some sort of mayonnaisey macaroni-and-canned-peas dish. At least you’re not paying.
Your boss leads you to one of the particleboard tables, sticky rings from other diners’ sodas patterning the top.
“I just have one question,” your boss asks, shoveling a forkful of shredded beets and ranch dressing into his mouth, one marbled purple strip clinging to his fat lower lip, “I thought Betsy told me you were going in to get a test for bronchitis?”