She spun the coffee cup ’round, staring at it blankly. It was vague, almost flavorless. But that’s what you expect from Waffle House. It was good in its own way. She drank it black. Most coffee needed something in it. This didn’t. Shit coffee. Good shit. Basic.
It helped her get a grip on reality. That bit of classic diner feel always lent perspective. Juke box. Tacky booths. Staff from the oddest walks of life. There was always a regular in his 60s or 70s. Retired. He sat at the low bar and ordered “the usual.” It didn’t matter where the Waffle House was, except perhaps South Memphis, there was always that regular. Seemed like a trope from a TV Series. But she accepted it. There was a comfort to familiarity.
He hadn’t shown up. But she knew he would, casually strolling in with his hands in his pockets. He always leaned back a little when he walked. He’d flip his hair and sit down, pulling his hands out of his pockets and resting his elbows on the table.
He sat next to her. He had the option of sitting opposite, but he didn’t. In spite of his guards he wanted her close. There was that bit of his heart that warmed in her company.
Don’t let this light go out too. Please. Stay my little friend.
You know she’ll leave you too. Every woman wants to change you and she’s too different to handle you. And like so many others you’ll just break her heart too. And you’ll be lucky if she doesn’t break yours.
“How are you?” She smiled. Warm. Inviting. Sincere. Earnest. She really did want to know.