Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Eating Out

            The diner clinked and clattered with the sounds of platters and plates being shuffled about. Coffee dripped lazily into the coffee pot while Nick stared at the clock. It was three thirty in the morning and Nick had an hour left before his train. He was leaving town to get away from Lainey because she was in love with someone else. It was all he could do. He didn’t want to leave but when he saw her laughing and hugging and giggling with that other man he felt a vicious hate in his bones. He thought it was best to get out of town.

             A waitress came to the counter and asked him what he’d like to eat. Nick ordered a coffee and some rye toast with grape jelly. The waitress barely looked at Nick as she took the order and darted off toward the kitchen. Nick was looking for some eye contact, someone to see the sadness in his eyes and offer a kind word of support. The way he thought Lainey looked at him. Maybe that was why she was happier in the arms of another man. Maybe his constant sadness drove her away. He sighed and took a sip from his coffee cup.

             A drunk couple came into the diner. They laughed with each other as the waitress showed them to a booth in the back. Nick smiled at them as they walked past him. They were joking about some Danish restaurant they had gone too earlier. Nick wished he and Lainey could have gone there. Now she was taking trips with this other man instead of him. Now she was cuddling and lying with some jerk.

             Nick put a little more cream in his coffee to cut some of the late night coffee bitterness.  He didn’t know why he even ordered the toast. He didn’t even really want it. He had no appetite. He lost it when he saw how much Lainey was all over that other guy. That other slimey, greasy, annoying dork. He walked out of the bar they arrived at without them seeing him. He sneaked past them without catching their eyes. They were so invested in each other. The way he thought he and Lainey were. He went back to his apartment, packed a bag, turned off the lights and headed right to the train station to get out of town. He didn’t have a train until four thirty so he had to kill some time. Time to stew over the lost love of his dear Lainey.

             Lainey was hilarious. She was beautiful.  She was charming. She was everything that Nick thought he wanted in a woman. He wanted to have children with her. He wanted to marry her and make her the person he whispered to on rainy nights about the simple and serious things until they were old and gray. Now she was with some other douche and it made Nick crazy. Crazy jealous and angry about his failures and missing pieces.

             The waitress brought his rye toast over and dumped it in front of him. Nick looked at the dry rye toast and could have sworn he could see his reflection in it. Dry, brittle, boring, needing jelly for flavor. He pushed the toast away and took another slug of coffee. He looked at the clock again and sighed. He’d lost and knew there was no comeback. At least the coffee was drinkable.

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