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Her painted fingers tremble as she hands him the chipped mug.He nods in thanks,and lifts the five-cent brew to his lips.Her tired eyes follow the pale white cup.
In silent hope and misery,
she relives the feeling of those same lips whispering “I loves you”in her ear,so many summers ago.
She toys with the taut bow of the apron hanging from her bony hips,
waiting in vain for him to look up,
to meet her eyes, and rekindle the flame that once burned wildly between them. She waits with a silent shred of hope that he will whisk her out of this hole-in-the-wall diner she’s been prisoner to
ever since he eloped with her confidence and her heart.
Five years, five hundred tears,and fifty failed romances later and there he was,sitting right back in her shattered life,and not even knowing it.She had waited for this day,and now she is waiting for him to remember.She gazes down at him,
heaves a sigh and taps a threadbare flat against the cracked linoleum,feigning impatience in hopes of a look,
just one look. Amber curls still cloud his hazel eyes,eyes she once could see her entire life in,
and long thin fingers that once held her life together now hold the scrap of a menu she has come to despise.Hope rises in her
when he finally sets the torn bit back on the gritty tabletop.
After it seems an eternity passes,
he looks up at her,into her,
his singing hazel eyes melting her,
burning him into her heart like they were kids again.Her heart fumbles as his perfect lips part
and he says in a voice as smooth as honey and twice as sticky-sweet,
“The special, please.”
Everything that seemed stable in her tumultuous world these past five minutes of hopeful waiting
comes crashing down in those three words.First numbness freezes her,
and then a depression,that isn’t foreign to her but is new its finality,crushes her heart with one fatal blow.It’s a rampant railroad car flattening her,
ending her.But in her silent despair,a stronger emotion finds her,and it burns through her like the wildfire their love once was.
This white-hot need that has eluded her all these years of being the damsel,fills the emptiness she let him create inside her soul.
It is the need to never feel like this again.
She gives him an award-winning smile,empties the remnants of his coffee cup on his amber curls
“Not from me, babe. Never again.”
A satisfying stare of shock and confusion follows her to the door,
accompanied by yowls of discontent from the one man she has been the one to leave behind.She tosses her stained apron at the manager,
and gives her best Marilyn Monroe wink to the grease-covered chef,
before plunging into tainted July heat.Fireworks dance over her head,
and crickets croak from the grubby sidewalk below,both celebrating a world she has never been a part of.
The city that swallowed her whole
and spit her back out is now welcoming her back to life. She doesn’t know where she’s going
or how she’s going to get there,
but now she knows that no Prince Charming is going to save her;
she has to save herself.
She steps out of her threadbare flats,and feels the biting pavement under her feet. But she doesn’t feel the new cuts,or the bruises that haunt her past.
All she feels is freedom.
All she feels is a new start.
All she knows is that never again will she be one of the