She was a pastry cook and I was a line cook.
I remember walking into the kitchen on my first day and seeing her. My heart stopped beating and I thought, Are you kidding me? Wow. I was taken back and I immediately fell in love with her. After that, we both took a liking to each other pretty quickly. I was actually already in a relationship, too. I ended that very shortly after that first day, and it hurt that person.
We ended up becoming roommates. She was already living with another cook who also worked in the same restaurant, so it was a pretty awesome living situation. We were about the same age and we had the same background—growing up in the Midwest as minorities and moving to LA for our careers. We hit it off. We spent the next three months connected to each other and totally in love.
We would make out in the walk-in if we found each other in there at the same time. That was about as daring as we got, since the restaurant we were working in was one of the nicest ones in Los Angeles. We were roommates and had the same schedule. We went to work together, we left to work together, we went to sleep together, we woke up together. We were really connected during those first three months. I think the only time that we didn't see each other was when we closed our eyes.
Our relationship went on from there. It was really fun to always see the person that I was in love with at work. Sure, we would have small arguments that followed us into work, but we were very professional about it for the most part. It made it really easy to stay at work after my hours were done. If one of us stayed, the other one would always stay and work—regardless if we were getting paid or not.
Things kind of changed when we were both assigned to different restaurants under the same hospitality group. Our philosophies on money and life goals changed during this move. It doesn't help that cooks don't make that much money. All of these factors started to take a toll on our relationship.
We went to work together, we left to work together, we went to sleep together, we woke up together.
That is when I came up with the idea to sell chef-quality cannabis edibles, quit our day jobs as cooks, and have a life together again. I was working at The Bazaar and she was freelance baking. Our business went really well, and we had as much fun as you could possibly imagine when you bake medicated edibles for a living. We had plenty of free-flowing cash and lots of free time on our hands. We were always day-drinking with friends and we were always eating out.
This went on for two years. But then the strain of not being able to push the business any further—because of the stringent marijuana laws in the state—started to take a toll on our relationship. Resentment built up and after a bunch of whatevers, whatevers, and more whatevers. We eventually broke up.
We tried to keep the business going as non-lovers, but we would have the most horrible fights. It really didn't work out after that. We just didn't want to be around each other at that point. I moved out and since then, I have not come across her.
We were together for five amazing years, and people were rooting for us. I still get questions from people who ask, "How is she?" I'm like, "Bro, we aren't even friends anymore." It's been four years since we broke up, too. I lost contact with a lot of mutual friends when that whole "choosing sides thing" happened. That process sucks even more when you date somebody in this small community, because a lot of times your coworkers end up being some of your best friends.
I learned my lesson after this. I don't work the line anymore because I am now contract chef. But if I ever end up falling for another person that works alongside me, I now know that the experience can be just as rewarding as it can be a nightmare. If we were to break up while we both still worked on the line, that shit would have been horrible, especially because we lived with each other as well.
I'm not saying that this experience wasn't worth it—it definitely was. Hell, if I feel as strongly as I did with my ex with someone else working the line again, I would do this all over again in a heartbeat. At least I know now that I was playing with fire.
As told to Javier Cabral