Six Minutes to Midnight

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Six minutes to midnight. Read my watch by silver hands, it stopped for a moment, I tapped its glass cover to restart the gears inside. It jerked forward reluctantly, then went back into its aligned spot. I took a sip of coffee, it was cold now, bitter too, but that was unimportant. I sat, alone, at a small table indoors, the p’leather seats would squeak lightly every so often. Asking me in a soft rubbery voice to move. I ignored it. Instead taking another sip of my coffee, then looking down to my watch again.



Five minutes to midnight. The diner was quiet, cold, and smelled of an old tire. The reasons for coming here were lost to me at this point. The coffee’s taste declined, as well as the hamburgers they supplied. They were always cold, just like the coffee I now drank, alone. I waited for a person whom was most certainly not coming, but my perseverance preceded my annoyance. A small ring from the bell hung above the door excited me like a dog awaiting food. An old couple walked in, hand in hand, together, smiling. I looked back down to my watch.



Four minutes to midnight. I looked over towards the small waitress smiling as she took the old couple’s order. Her hair was tied neatly behind her head, a small paper cap lay over it. Her apron was dirty, the knot looked tight behind her back, aggressively tight even. She would pull at the knot behind her back occasionally to stop the choking it would induce, still smiling and writing down the order for the old couple. She completed the order and walked to the kitchen, wiping fallen hair out of her face and fixing her paper cap. I looked back down to my watch.



Three minutes to midnight. I turned to the counter near the entrance, there was a man sitting, alone. He had a light hooded jacket on, grey and black pinstripes aligned vertically on the coat. He was sitting with a friend of the same age, younger even, whom was smoking a cigarette butt. Unaware that the cigarette’s tobacco had burnt out for some time, he started coughing feverishly, crushing the butt on the marble counter in front of him. He held a tightly packed fist in front of his mouth, catching the debris in his palm. His friend patted his back for comfort, unfocused by the waitress whom carried out coffee for the old couple, still was she pulling at the apron’s knot. I looked back down to my watch.


Two minutes to midnight. The Waitress placed the coffee’s down for the old couple, turned to see the coughing boy’s friend as he stared back at her, smiling. The waitress blushed while tugging at her apron knot and approached the coughing man’s friend. The coughing boy, still coughing, got up to go to the bathroom, his face was dug into the corner of his arm. As he went out of sight, I heard the bathroom door squeak close, his coughs muffled by the walls separating us. Back to the coughing boy’s friend who was flirting with the waitress, still tugging at her apron knots. They would smile at each other lightly, then laugh, then smile again. The never ending cycle of flirting, compressed within a minute. I looked back down to my watch.


A minute to midnight. I reached for my coffee, now empty, the stained mug was heavy in my hands, the smell of African coffee beans assaulted my sinus’s. The coughing boy left the bathroom, pale, and weary. He stopped just short of the edge of the counter, staring at the waitress, still tugging at her apron knot. He moved to her with purpose, pushing his friend out of the way he grabbed the waitress, leaned her back, resting the back of her head in the corner of his arm. He kissed her strongly, color returning to his face, they stayed together, faces compacted together, never leaving one another. The man straightened out, along with the girl, whose apron had fallen to the ground amidst the kissing. The Man’s friend sat, quiet, stunned, now pale, he took a sip of the coffee in front of him, cringed, then left the store, without a word. I looked down to my watch.


The hands were frozen again, stuck at exactly the fifty ninth second on the fifty ninth minute of the eleventh hour. I tapped the glass again, the hands stayed the same. I took off the watch, held it to my ear, listened for a noise, nothing. I turned the dials on the side, nothing. Suddenly the hand lurched forward yet again as suspected. The old couple across the diner had left after the kissing fiasco, as did the man and waitress. I looked down to my watch.


Midnight. The bell rang, yet again, I looked up, hopeful. I looked up into his pair of dark Blue eyes and wept quietly to myself.





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