Diner Thoughts This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   What made me notice her?

Seedy greasy diner, '50s style boxcar, jukeboxsongs and static for a quarter. She is sitting at the counter, relaxed air of aregular, totally at home, kicking her heels faintly against the edge of herstool, second from the end, light from the dirty, smoke-filmed window filteringin across her shoulders. Thin hips in blue jeans swivel a bit in her red vinylseat, both elbows bony white planted on the counter, long fingers wrapped tightaround the coffee mug she isn't looking at.

I can't really see her face,she isn't looking at me. I watch her back, the way her whole body moves like milkbeing poured, thin taut shoulders defined by the fabric of her thin blouse. Shelooks out from under short red curls, beckons the waitress for another cup ofcoffee. Sliding in the seat, she leans her cheek on one thin hand, her otherfingers move unconsciously, slow motion lazily toying with a chewed plasticstirrer. Through the red haze of curls I can see her a little, the line of herchin, hint of cheekbone - the waitress brings fresh coffee and she turns awayagain.

Second day. Coffee sits steaming two-thirds full on the countertop.Her bare toes squirm against the metal ring footrest, slender nude ankles peekingfrom the bottom of her thin cotton dress - faded green, covered with faint blueflowers the size of pennies. I feel like a little kid with a secret watching herbare toes dance above a discarded pair of battered green Birkenstocks. There is anotebook on the counter. It is hers, beat up, dog-eared, coffee-stained, extrapages shoved in and falling out. One drifts slowly to the floor, drifting backand forth in the air like it's in no hurry to reach the sticky diner tiles. Shereaches down for it, twisting gently, her waist just pressing the loose fabric ofher dress, and I fix my eyes on the notebook, beat-up blue cover, try to read herwild doodles and not stare at her curves pressing against the embroidery. I don'twant to watch her like that - not the way that men stare at beautiful women whosit alone drinking coffee, staring and admiring their shape the way they would aMercedes.

A week now. The waitress knows me, brings every morning twoscrambled eggs and a coffee to my same dark corner booth. Today I didn't evenneed to ask.

And the girl is always there, haphazard morning sunlightoutlining her, highlighting her with her dog-eared notebook and her fadeddresses, cup of coffee steaming on the corner. She just sits there quiet andalone, moving once and a while, fluid milk motions, sipping coffee, or jotting asentence or two in that notebook. She is there when I arrive. I am always firstto leave.

Two more days. I have begun to wonder about her. Days go by andweeks and she just sits there at the corner, second stool from the end. She wearsblue jeans every day this week, always barefoot, little naked feet dancing aboveher empty Birks. But I'm thinking now, as my eggs are getting cold, where doesshe go and what does she do when she is not here in this cafe writing ae What isit she is writing always in that notebook? Who is she when she walks out the doorof this diner? It is really strange that I haven't asked myself this before. I'vebeen watching her two weeks now.

The next morning it is raining, and ofcourse she is there, her hair wet and shimmery with rain, each curl tight anddistinct. The rain is bright and also gray and in the weird light I wonder if sheis even real, or only a vibrant dream of mine. I wonder if itmatters.

Three more days pass, three mornings of coffee and two eggs thatget cold on my plate. "Why don't you talk to her?" The waitress hasnoticed me watching, sees my absorbed stare and the congealed eggs icy on myplate when I leave every morning, dropping three quarters into mysaucer.

Why don't I talk to her? I had forgotten that I could. At onepoint I must have thought of it, of sitting down next to her and just starting totalk. But now, now when I've sat in this corner for weeks quietly watching her,playing voyeur to her breakfast, what would I say? What could I say? It is toolate for a cheap pick-up line, too late for a casual hello. What would she say?I've never seen her speak. Suddenly I want to, want intensely to stand up andcross this room, sit down on that shiny vinyl swivel seat beside her. Just sitnear her, order myself another coffee, say hello, offer her breakfast - anythingto make contact, make her real. But I don't. Of course I don't. There's no riskin this, there is nothing. Just her, a dream, a morning ritual with her haze ofred curls and a dog-eared notebook.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Tunio said...
Apr. 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm
You, my friend , have a lot of potential :D !
 
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