t h e d i n e r
by Byron KH Siemsen
It had been a long time since I had been there, a long time from the youthful dreams and the freshness of life that used to inhabit the tiny cafe'. The jukebox that had once met the patron with a glowing greeting as they entered the door now stood sandwiched between two cigarette machines by the Boy's bathroom and played songs that seemed sadder, more weary than I had remembered them.
Perhaps there were too many miles that had passed under my feet. Too many miles to make worthwhile the few extra steps it took to enter a place that would offer no comfort in reminiscence, but only the regret of ever having left through its doors in the first place.
I last saw her here--how young and beautiful her face.
I used to close my eyes to think of her, to remember her smile. However, as time passed, I could picture her easily with my eyes open. Her smile comforted me when life was tired. I picture her now.
"How are we doing, Sir? Are you ready?", asked a polite voice.
I looked up. A young lady stood with her pencil and pad at the ready.
"I'll have a coffee. Black, please.", I said turning to stare again out the window.
"Thank you," she said leaving me to think again.
Late one afternoon,long ago, I had stood outside her window. Across the sill were arranged bottles of perfume and soon she, in her delightful way, wondered if I would care to see what they smelled like. Spraying perfume through the screen for me to sample, I judged each. "Too sweet", I told her for one; "Wonderful", for another. But she needed no perfume.
And she smiled.
A gentle brush of the wind as the cafe' door swung open interrupted my thoughts.
I glanced as the curious do.
There she stood!
I jumped out of my seat with such quickness betraying the swirling emotions which prevented me from finding words to say. Words so often rehearsed, but now mute.
Then it seemed so very quiet...
She slowly walked toward me--her beauty had not changed.
She softly spoke, "I knew after all these years I would find you here...at Carl's Jr.".
And then...
she smiled.
contact Byron Siemsen at siemsen@siemsen.com