Magda is halfway through her shift when she realizes that the new counterman, Istvan, is watching her. He is standing by the cash register filling white paper condiment cups with cole slaw and sweet relish, applesauce and sour cream, and every time she catches him looking he blushes. He has an innocent face, with a generous mouth and the wide, startled eyes of a fawn; he is just a boy. Still, Magda straightens her shoulders and sucks in her belly as she glides from table to counter and back again, taking orders and delivering plates piled high with food.
After the lunch rush is over, Magda and Cristina linger by the counter, waiting for customers.
“I’m so hungry,” Magda says idly, and Istvan blushes.
Cristina shoots Magda a sidelong glance, then leans on her elbow and says, “Me too. I don’t think I’ve ever been so hungry. What about you, Istvan?” Her eyes slide over to him, and the dimple by her mouth deepens. Istvan looks at her young breasts pillowed on the counter and then at the floor.
The man at Table Five beckons to Magda, and she stalks over to take his order. She returns to the counter to cut the customer a piece of apple pie, but there are no clean plates. Why are there no clean plates?
Again Istvan catches her eye. He pantomimes placing the slice of pie on his palm. “Tell him to eat from your hand,” he says, and for one moment only, Magda thinks that she could.