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Diner

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I sit in the little diner, twiddling my cut up thumbs and tapping my sneaker clad feet on the linoleum floor at a rapid pace. My senses quickly take everything in : the walls painted the color of dead leaves in January, the soft humming of the dated TV on the wall, the scratches in the faux wood top of the table I sit at, the mismatched lamps placed in various locations around the small room, the smell of greasy burgers and pizza from the kitchen, and the two other people here.

One is a man wearing navy blue coveralls and a Florida Marlins baseball cap, both covered in red dirt. His blue eyes look tired, but his thin lips pull up into a smile as he makes small talk with the waitress. I decide he must be a regular at the modest establishment.

The other person is a redheaded woman who looks incredibly uncomfortable in the little diner. She's wearing a fuchsia cashmere sweater, one that's much too hot for the Florida heat. Her heart — shaped face is covered in expensive looking makeup, not the cheap kind I throw on to make myself feel good once in awhile, and her bobbed hair is pin straight and perfect. She curls up her pale little nose at the smell of fatty foods, and hugs her giant purse closer to her ample chest. I decide she must be visiting from another state.

I look down at my shaking hands and mentally command myself to calm down. A blind man could see that I'm nervous, what with all the fidgeting I'm doing.

I inhale the dank air, close my eyes, and try to put myself in a positive frame of mind. I
would meditate, but I figure crossing my legs and humming loudly was definitely a way to get unwanted attention.

I open my eyes, and the waitress is standing at my table, eyeing me curiously. I examine her quickly, something I've trained myself to do over the past few months. She has white blond hair that looks as if its been hair-sprayed within an inch of its life. Cheap makeup is plastered onto her face. She probably wants to make herself look younger, but she only looks like the homicidal clown I saw on TV a couple years ago. Freaky stuff. Her nails are obviously fake, and the black t-shirt she has on is too tight, showing all of her jelly rolls.

“D'you want somethin'?” Her voice is high pitched and sounds like nails on a chalkboard. I cringe.

“Uh...” I hesitate, “What can I get for five dollars?” My voice is low and shaky.

She sighs dramatically in frustration and hands me the menu she forgot to give me when I came in, making it seem like my fault. Hag.

I flip through the small menu as quickly as I can, because she's tapping those ridiculous nails on the table, and the sound makes me want to bang my head against the wall repeatedly.

“I'd like fries and a Coke.” I mumble it, and annoyance once again flashes in her gray eyes. I feel the anger tighten up in my chest, and I want to hit her.

She walks away and the crappy pink kitten heels she's wearing click annoyingly on the floor.

My foot starts tapping nervously and I try to occupy myself. I pick up the salt shaker, turning it around in my hands. There are fingerprint smudges all over it, and it could use a good cleaning. My fingers subconsciously run along the ridges as I look back up at the other two
costumers.

The man – whose name I can see is Luke from the tag on his coveralls – takes a big, animalistic bite out of a greasy burger. After wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he sets the burger
down, picks up the pepper shaker on his table, and sprinkles some on his fries. A satisfied sigh escapes from his mouth after taking a hearty slurp of his soda.

I look away from Luke and over to the seemingly uptight woman. She's picking at a salad, making faces at the browning lettuce as she moves things around with her plastic fork.
After a long moment of trying to find something edible in the salad, she growls in frustration and stands up, slipping a thin arm through her designer purse handle and storming out of the diner. She doesn't leave a tip.

The waitress comes over with my fries and drink, not even bothering to look over at me as she's glaring at the back of the woman who stormed out.

I mumble a thank you and look down at the fries. They are wide and soggy, not all that appetizing. I'm starving though, so I drown them in ketchup and start eating.

Ah food, so good.

I take a sip of my icy Coke, smiling at the feeling of the cold liquid running down my parched throat. It's absolutely divine, and I take the time to savor the sensation.

Suddenly, I hear the tell-tale sound of police sirens, a sound my ears have become all too familiar with. I look up and see the bright red and blue lights in the dull reflection of the TV.

My heart is beating so hard I can hear it as I shoot up out of my seat. My eyes are wide and my face is ashen as I pull the little plastic bag full of my few belongings off the floor and bolt out of the diner and towards the bathroom.

Everything goes in slow motion as I push the door of the women's bathroom open, sprint to the other side of the repugnant smelling room, push the dirty window up, and scramble out as fast as I can. My legs get tangled up once I'm on the other side, and I fall, scraping my knees on the gravel. I pay the blood running down my legs no mind as I jump up and begin sprinting for the woods bordering the diner.

The memories I have repressed for so long come rushing back into my head as I run from the cops. I try to push them back, but I can't concentrate on that and trying to get to safety at the same time...

My hand was shaking vigorously as I opened my stepfather's glass cabinet. I almost couldn't do it, almost couldn't reach in and grab the terrifying object hanging inside. How could I do it? How could I wield the powerful weapon and... I couldn't even think it. How would I be able to do it if I couldn't think it?

But then I remembered how he hit my mom, marring her beautiful face with purple and yellow bruises. I remembered how he came in and completely destroyed our lives in one fell swoop. How he... Ugh, I couldn't think of that either.

I remembered those things, and I knew how I would do it.

I let the anger fill my body as I reached in and grabbed the cool metal object.

I'm gasping so hard I'm surprised my lungs haven't exploded. Tears are pricking at the corners of my eyes, but I try to hold them back, not wanting my vision to be blurred.

He sat in his beat up old station wagon, the one with the light blue paint chipping off. I was shaking with extreme anger as I hoisted the gun up, holding back the tears that threatened to stream down my face.

At first he looked shocked, and I could feel myself waver. My grip loosened on the threatening barrel of the gun, and the question returned to my mind. How could I do this?

But then his face twisted, and a smug smile appeared, showcasing his horribly yellowed teeth.

“C'mon Bea, you're not gonna shoot me.”

Oh, how pleased with himself he sounded! Any hesitation I'd had before quickly disappeared with that one sentence. My hand clenched again around the gun, and my eyes tightened fiercely.

He stood up. “Now, put the gun down before you hurt that pretty lil' face of yours.”

He stepped closer to me, reaching out to touch me. My heart sped up, remembering... The memory spurred my anger on, helping me do what needed to be done.

I lifted the gun even higher, and before he could say his favorite curse word, I fired it.

The shot was loud and powerful. It threw me back with its force, and I dropped the gun into the dry, dead grass surrounding us. My body landed on the ground with a thump, my hands clamping tightly on my ears and my eyes squeezed shut.

After a long moment, I removed my hands and heard nothing but my heavy breathing, the rustling of dead leaves being blown around by the autumn wind, and the few birds cawing overhead.

I took a deep breath and open my eyes.

Blood. It was everywhere.

Blood.

Blood. Blood running from the dirty cuts in my knees. Blood speeding rapidly through
my veins. Blood in my mouth from biting my tongue.

Blood. It seems to define my life.

The tears stream down my face, and make seeing astronomically difficult. I can make out the blurry edge of trees and I know I'm closer. The police haven't caught me yet, they had probably yet to figure out that I snuck through the women's bathroom.

I learned quickly that Floridian police officers aren't as on – the – ball as the ones in other states. Especially not the local ones.

I reach the trees and fight through thorny bushes and sharp twigs as I make my way into the leafy covering.

An aching begins in my side, but I push past it, knowing that I need to get to safety.

I spot an old, decrepit tree house, and having no other options, I hoist myself up the fraying rope that was connected to it.

I sit in the rotting wooden structure for the rest of the night, silently sobbing as I let the past soak over me. How did I do it? I have no clue. All I know is that I've ruined my life forever, and that's something that I can't take back.

Oh, how I wish I was that waitress who seemed to hate me, or the stuck up woman who seemed like she often grated on nerves. I wouldn't even mind being Lucas, the working man who gets simple enjoyment out of an anointed burger.

Perhaps they think their lives aren't all that great, but to me they are the luckiest people in the world.





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