At a table by the window, Rueben’s side not Bagel side, four girls sit in silence chewing their food when one of them announces, “I think I’m getting scurvy.” Instead of alarm or concern, the rest of the girls nod slowly. There is an understanding of the possibility of developing a type of malnutrition seen often only by pirates. There is this understanding amongst the four minds before they all jump in on how the caf has slowly slid down into a well of sadness.

“The caf has gotten so much worse. I’ve eaten the same salad every day this week,” says one while stabbing a forkful of lettuce and diced chicken covered in ranch and shredded cheese. “Aren’t you lactose intolerant?,” asks the girl who previously mentioned she may have contracted scurvy. After a shameful nod from the girl with ranch dripping from her face, there is a beat until one of the other girls, without looking up from her cereal, says, “No wonder we’ve gone through the toilet paper so quickly.” A sad laugh escapes amongst the entire table until a cute boy walks by and they all pretend that they’re actually ladies and not trolls disguised by their highlight and contour.

After a moment of slight embarrassment, a girl with chopsticks in her hands ventures, “I think it’s better. I kind of like it.” She then looks down at her plate of sushi and dips a piece of California roll in soy sauce.

“Okay, so, like the sushi is bomb,” says Girl with Scurvy, “but look at this pasta.” They all admit and agree that the portion of the penne with chicken looks as if it was the size of a 1990s Lean Cuisine. Girl with Scurvy continues, “Like if I’m gonna eat pasta, I want to EAT pasta, ya know?” They all nod their heads in complete agreement that carbs are scared and how dare Aramark not understand the need for large bowls of pasta.

“At least you can eat pasta,” the three girls exchange small glances, waiting for the words about to come out of the girl we’ll call Kombucha: “I mean, it’s not like I’m actually gluten intolerant, but that stuff is poison. No one should be eating it!,” Kombucha reiterates to dead ears, when an ancient figure clears her throat behind them. They all turn and find an oracle in a worn spirit jersey and running shorts, grasping an Iced Dunkin cup that no longer contains ice, but a lukewarm and nearly white substance that could technically be considered coffee.

The oracle speaks, “You don’t know how much better this place has gotten. There was once a time when we spoke of the caf with much disdain. There was brown lettuce as far as the eye could see, and the granola bowl never refilled. Bananas were either green or brown. If we wanted sushi, we had to go to a restaurant.” They all look toward Sushi Girl. By the time they look back again, the oracle has disappeared so they quietly enjoy their meals, fearful of the return of the senior and her tales of horror.

Maggie Lynch can be reached at


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