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Her hands were folded in front of her, sweating. People constantly walking up to her offering their condolences. When will it end? Why can’t I be alone? She thought.
Her parents died in a car accident three weeks ago. Sarah was in the hospital for one and the funeral took another week to plan. Was it really that long ago?
A tear rolled down her cheek. She didn’t wipe it away. She let it dry to her skin.
“I have to go.” She begged to her Aunt Patricia.
“The last thing you need is to be alone.” She whispered.
Sarah hadn’t been left alone since she had gotten out of the hospital. Her aunt was always hovering nearby. Sarah couldn’t breathe without her aunt knowing about it.
Sarah started to turn away to walk out the door but her aunt grabbed her sharply by the arm letting her nails dig into her skin.
“You aren’t going anywhere. Before you know it you’ll be cutting away at your arm. Your not gonna do that.” She whispered.
“What? You think I’m gonna be a cutter? No. Just leave me alone. I need to be alone!” She began to cry now, pleading with her eyes. Her aunt reluctantly let her go. Sarah went to her car and drove off into town. She went to Dan’s Diner for some lemonade. Somehow the sweet taste of lemonade always drove off her sadness.
She pulled into a parking spot next to a blue Viper. She sat down at a booth by a window.
“Hi! I’m Louise and I’ll be taking your order today. What can I get ya to drink?” Said an overly cheery waitress.
What a typical name for a diner waitress. “I’ll get a lemonade.”
“’Kay. I’ll be right back with that for ya.” She turned away with a big smile on her face like she was actually enjoying waiting on people.
Sarah turned to the window. Anywhere else to look than the people’s eyes around her.
“Excuse me sir!” someone giggled.
“Oh. I’m sorry… Maggie.” A male voice replied.
“What are you doing?” She asked.
“I am merely looking under the table. What else does it look like?”
“It’s just strange that’s all.” She replied with a southern accent.
“Like beauty, it’s in the eyes of the beholder.” He replied. At this Sarah turned towards him. She was surprised to see a very adorable guy about her age.
She was still looking at him when the waitress walked away. When he saw her he nodded towards her. She looked out the window not caring for manners.
“Here’s your lemonade, ma’m. Could I get you some breakfast?” A yellow lemonade appeared in front of her.
“No. Just lemonade, thank you.”
“Well you tell me when you change your mind. Alright hon?” She smiled down at her.
“Yeah.” She looked back out the window.
She watched the birds on the telephone wires dance and fly away. Others attack each other playfully. Fly in circles and land back on the wire. And it starts over again. Then suddenly they all took off at the same moment. She was fascinated at how the birds moved the same. If the leader tipped his wing to the left, the whole flock did the same. Flowing easily in the air she wished she could do it. They flew off into the distance until they looked like a wispy black cloud.
“Here ya go hon.” The waitress said above her passing a plate with a giant warm cookie and ice cream put on top in front of her.
“I didn’t order this.” Sarah said.
“No you didn’t but he did.” She said pointing to the man across the restaurant. “He says he’s paying.” Before she could push it away the waitress stopped her. “Hon. You need somethin’ to put in your stomach. We know what happened and we all think a warm chocolate chip cookie will make you feel a little better. Besides the gentleman and Doc will get purty upset.”
“Okay. Tell him thanks for me.”
“I’ll do.” She walked away to the gentleman. She spoke to him briefly and left.
Sarah began to eat the desert slowly. She felt as if she’d hurl. She looked down to find it finished and her drink half empty, or half full as her father would say. Everything seemed half empty now. She put her head down on her arms and began to cry. She sobbed quietly, mostly heaving. She reached for her purse.
“No need hon. It’s on the house today.” The waitress was suddenly above her again. She grabbed up the plate and drink with a smile and turned to go.
Sarah got up and left. She looked over into the diner as she passed and found the young man looking after her. He nodded to her the same way he had before. She didn’t nod back or make any clue as to if she saw him. She drove on until she got to the peer. She ran out to the end and screamed out to the horizon.
“It’s not fair!” she crumpled to her knees holding her face. The pain inside her was too much. She couldn’t take it. She heaved heavily and began to cry in earnest. She wrapped her arms around her torso. It felt as if apiece of her heart broke off and was trying to crawl up her throat. A strange feeling welled up inside her. It felt good and so wrong at the same time she felt scared. She realized it was the feeling of being vulnerable. Almost naked to the worlds torments. Indeed she was.
She sat on the peer with her arms cradling her torso. Rocking back and forth crying more and more. Whenever it felt she would stop a memory pushed itself to the front of her mind and she’d begin to cry all over again. The memory of the argument and the bright headlights in the side of the car played over and over in her head. The sky was dark around her she could hear the frogs croak and the fish break the surface of the water.
She finally forced herself to calm down and stop crying. She went back to her car and drove into town. She went to the library. She felt she needed the comforting quiet and the familiar smell of old books around her. Her cell phone was vibrating in her purse. She knew it was her aunt wondering where she was and if she was still alive. She answered then, hung up, and turned her phone off.
She saw the young man from the diner walking down the street. He saw her car and saw her face and looked immediately down. Do I really look that bad? She wondered.