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adiosesposito (profile) wrote,
on 6-13-2003 at 3:30am
Music: Fairport Convention
It suddenly occured to me that a hunger had built up inside my stomach. So I continued walking down the sidewalk, until I found an old-looking diner. It seems as though that's the only kind of diner these days. The door was already ajar, either for customer's convenience or out of laziness. I walked in and noticed that the whole place was rather dirty and unkempt. I wasn't in the mood to be seated by some stranger, so I took a seat in a booth by the corner. I quickly noticed that I was the only patron in the diner. Sort of a turn-on. I waited for about five minutes, not hearing a sound in the place. I was going to call "hello?" out, but I wasn't a fan of raising my voice. Which wasn't a major help during my high school Glee Club days. Finally, an elderly woman of African descent, or maybe European descent, I don't really know, came from the back to take my order.

"What will you be having tonight kid?"

I mentioned to her that a menu would be helpful.

"Believe me son, unless you plan on buying a stairway to heaven tonight, you'll be wanting the egg salad," was her reply.

Quite unsure of what she meant by the whole stairway deal, I took her advice. She went again to the back to bring me some coffee. Or maybe she was going to smoke a cigarette, I can't say for sure. I perused the walls of the diner, seeing if I could count all the holes in the walls and ceilings. I was up to seventeen when the elderly waitress of African or European, or possibly Eskimo descent came back with a cup in one hand and pot of coffee in the other. She began pouring.

"So what's your story kid?"

I felt it was time for a Smiths reference, quite sure that she wouldn't know I was quoting the lyrical genius of them.

"Sixteen, clumsy and shy. That's the story of my life."

"Uh huh. Now would you like cream with your coffee Morrissey?"

Never underestimate the musical knowledge of elderly waitresses of African or European or Eskimo, or possibly Japanese descent. Her name was Ava. Well, her nametag said that at least. And isn't that the point of nametags?

"Ava, I like my coffee like I like my women. Blacker than the heart of a Republican."

"I voted for Reagan. Twice."

She finished pouring the coffee to the brim, and returned to the back.

I wondered about two things in her absence, none more important than the other. First, why did I make that analogy? I don't even drink coffee, so how would I know how I liked it? And secondly, who over the age of 42 listens to the fuckin Smiths? Then I remembered that my 6th grade Social Studies teacher once did a lesson on the effects Hatful of Hallow had on the geo-political landscape of post-Cold War Russia. I read two years ago that he died from colon cancer, at the age of 76. I didn't do the math, and just figured he was older than 42 when I was his pupil. God rest his soul.

Ava returned to me, no egg salad with her. I had finished my cup of coffee, even though I hated the taste of it.

"I'm sorry, our one cook is drinking Jack Daniels in the back. Doesn't look too good. So don't get your hopes up on the egg salad."

"Ava, who is your favorite movie star of all-time?"

"Jimmy Stewart. He always played characters with great character and morals. I respected that. Who was yours?"

"Val Kilmour. I just liked him as Iceman."

She just stared at me.

"You know...in Top Gun."

Still staring.

"Remember...'I feel the need for speed'."

She gave me a smile.

"Tell me kid, you ever been in love?"

"Yes." This was not the truth.

"It's a great thing. My husband, Robert, he used to kiss my toes before we made love. It was sort of his ritual, or tradition. I never asked him why, for I never cared."

"My mom and dad stopped having sex after I was born."

"Don't take it too personally."

"Never did."

"Robert...he was coming home from the grocery. Bad snowstorm. There was no way to see in front of him. He got in an accident."

"He died?"

"No. No, he hit a person. 17 year-old girl. Didn't die right away, was in a coma for about two weeks. And now Robert is serving a life sentence. He could appeal, but what's the point?"

"Do you visit him?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"What's the point?"

"Don't you love him?"

"Yes."

I hated it when people asked me questions that I didn't want to answer.

I scrounged up some change, and handed her the money.

"If I may ask, what is love, to you?"

"When I first met Robert, he loved the Beach Boys. And I hated them, profusely. I couldn't stand them at all. And he kept playing their records, and I kept hating them. The years passed, he still played the same Beach Boys records, I hated them. And one day, not too long ago, he played that same Beach Boy record that I detested for so long, and I almost liked it. Almost."

I walked out of the diner, no longer hungry, even though I never did get that egg salad.


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