(I couldn’t sleep last night, or all this week for that matter. Insomnia and emotional chaos must be my muses because the words below just spilled out of me and captured the longing and emotion I felt last night.)
She felt as though she was drowning and her lungs were struggling for air. She could feel herself taking in short, shallow breaths but it seemed as though she wasn’t breathing at all. Her head felt light, her pulse was racing and her face was prickly and hot.
“Is this what dying feels like?” She asked herself.
Of all the days, of all places, she had to spot him today – with her. She stood rooted to the spot, transfixed by the sight in front of her.
They sat in the diner’s corner booth, with the tattered red vinyl seats and stained table top.
They looked out of place, too rich for the worn down joint. He wore a dark, expensive looking suit and shiny leather loafers. Although in his late 50s, he was still ruggedly handsome. Time had brought a few lines around his wide hazel eyes but they made him appear more distinguished. His brown curly hair was cropped short and showed no signs of graying. His companion wore a yellow sundress, low cut and belted at the waist, that accentuated her curves. On her feet were a pair of nude heels, the kind that made you wince just by looking at them. He must have said something funny because she threw her head back in unbridled laughter.
“Those customers ain’t gonna serve themselves, sweet girl,” the diner’s manager Dave hissed at her as he walked by with a pot of coffee. “Get to it.”
Suddenly, like a dam breaking, she was jolted out of her reverie. She knew she had to face them, the time had come.
“G’night,” she said softly, as she handed them two laminated menus. “Can I take your order?”
He stared at her appreciatively, noting her attractiveness discreetly. She felt her face flush even more and wished she had tied her long, messy curls into a ponytail.
“Good night Diana,” he said in a deep voice, after a quick glance at the name tag above her bosom. “We’ll take two slices of your best cake, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and two chocolate milkshakes.”
“Odd choice,” Diana said, although she was rendered nearly speechless by his smile. “Celebrating somethin’?”
“I just got into law school,” his companion said with the confident air of a girl who knew her worth. “It’s tradition, we always celebrate milestones with cake and ice cream. It’s a wonder we aren’t fat, right daddy?”
The last word was like a stab to the heart.
“Congratulations, I’ll be right back with your order,” Diana managed to choke out before she snatched their menus away and turned on her heel.
Diana silently returned with their order and thank yous were said. She feigned interest in wiping the diner’s other table tops with disinfectant but stole furtive glances at them whenever she could.
Thirty minutes later and they were gone. He turned to look at her before he walked outside and they held each other’s gaze for what seemed like an eternity. Two sets of hazel eyes burning deeply into each other’s, searching deeply, asking silent questions.
She’s about my daughter’s age, he must have thought.
He smiled weakly before breaking their connection, swallowed hard, and rushed out the door.