the cool vinyl of the booth massages the tension out of her legs, as she sits, head resting on the table top, just breathing. it was a long day, running from table to table, making sure customers' every need was met. swinging the hanging sign to CLOSED, she had sunk in the first booth she could find and would like nothing more than to free her feet from the shoes that were strangling them.
groaning, it takes nearly all the effort she has left to lift her head. "can't they read", she mumbles to the empty diner, half expecting a smart response from cheryl the cashier, but she along with everyone else had been smart, slipping out the back at closing time. she had only wanted a minute, to feel the quiet.
a pale shadow hangs in the moonlight streaming through the door, the lack of response obviously meaning nothing to whoever is there. tap...tap...tap...
"alright, already", this time loud enough to echo, sending throbbing pain through her temples.
rising slowly, her feet shuffle along the linoleum, until she stands before the obstinate...old man. draped in a brown trench coat, his shock white hair peeking from beneath a fedora, the man's smile curls beneath thick glasses. she just stands, staring.
"can i come in?", his voice like fog, creeping through the glass to her ears.
"no, we are closed."
"yeah, i saw that. i was just hoping someone was here."
"well, you will have to come back tomorrow", she turns to head toward the back, pressing her thumbs into her temples.
"look, we are closed! now go away!", realising how loud she was, she gazes once more toward the door to find the old man gone, only a rose laying on the cold gray sidewalk.
peering through the window, she scans the street, finding it empty, as if the whole world was asleep. rattling the bolt, the door glides open and she retrieves the rose, finding a note attached by a ribbon.
to my blue plate special, i just needed to see you, one more time...
a soft warm wind washes her face, as she stands, still holding the door. funny, that's what my husband calls me, she thinks, before locking up once more, and heading through the kitchen to where her car waits, in the parking lot, to take her home.
This is a Magpie Tale.