All It Takes Is One Mysterious Man
If there was one person in the small town of Blairmore that everyone knew it was Lacey Hamilton. She was no celebrity or mayor’s daughter or anything special, she was just a girl who spent most of her time working at a small little diner, going to school and helping out with whatever charity she could. You could say she was a goodie two shoes, however, never would you ever meet anyone who would have anything bad to say about her. I’m not saying she’s perfect but if you were to try to find anything close to it in personality wise, it would be her. From her long ginger coloured hair and freckles to her tooth pick legs and size eight feet, she was gorgeous, smart and overall the kindest sweetest person possible. If you were to meet Lacey you would think that she has the normal picture perfect life, but in this case, don’t let looks fool you…
When Lacey was born, her mother died right after labour, leaving Lacey motherless and alone with her father. As the years past, Lacey found out very quickly that her father’s military job was more important to him than she was and he end up leaving Lacey at the age of five with her grandparents. Ever since that she never saw her dad again. As Lacey grew up, she found herself with a big hollow hole in her heart, which in many ways she tried to fill. From working with old folks to helping with every charity possible she just couldn’t find anything to satisfy that emptiness in her heart. As the caring person she was, she always pushed aside her feelings and made sure everyone around her was happy and cheerful, and always put everyone else needs in front of hers.
At the age of sixteen, she needed something to fill her time during the summer, so she applied at the local diner. Working at the dinner, she found that it was the perfect job for her. Not only did she get to make money and try to pay back everything she possible could to her grandparents but she found out that the people at the diner were like family to her. It didn’t matter if it was her fellow employers or the regular customers, she treated them all with such respect and kindness, that it made everyone feel like they were at home. She loved everything about that dinner and even some days she hoped that maybe one day her and her dad would reconnect through this place that brought her such happiness.
“Lacey, do you think you could do me a favour and take table five for me? This rush is really killing me and plus having to deal with those bottomless stomach college kids at table six which is such a pain already!” Lindsey begged Lacey as she filled her drink cups at the drink counter. As Lacey glanced over at the middle aged man who was sitting by himself at table five, she knew that one more table would be no big deal for her and she could handle it.
“Alright Linds, but you are buying milkshakes tonight!” Lacey winked at Lindsey as she made her way over to the table with the man whom she recognized that had been in a few times in the last couple days, but never had Lacey served or paid any attention to him.
“Good afternoon Sir. I will be your server for today, what can I start you off with?” Lacey pulled out her little white notepad and pen as she stared at the man who looked like he was struggling with what to decide.
Waiting on the man, Lacey took in as much as she could about the man. Just by looking at him, she could tell he was in his late forty’s, in the military and telling by how he wore a set of wedding rings on a chain around his neck, he was probably either divorced or a widower. She felt a pang in her chest, feeling sorry and sad for this lonely man.
“Sir, how about I start you off with a coffee and then you can have a little more time to decide what you want to eat?” For the first time since coming to the table, the man’s eyes meet hers. Something about the look in his eyes made a shiver go down Lacey’s back, as if someone was to walk over her grave. In his eyes she saw sorrow, memories and a slight glimpse of happiness.
“Yeah please, that would be perfect.” His tone was flat but yet mysterious, as if there was story behind every word he spoke. Something about him made Lacey curious and made her have this urge to just sit down and listen to him. She could tell he needed a friend or at least someone to talk to. Walking away, she couldn’t help but glance back to notice him fiddling with a crumpled picture in his hand. Who was it of? What was it of? What was the story behind it? So many questions rumbled through her mind. Since starting working at the diner, Lacey had met and talked to many people, but never did she feel this urge like she did with this man.
Walking back to the table with a steaming cup of coffee in her hand, she placed down the cup, just as he tucked away the photo in his jacket pocket.
“Did you decide what you would like to get? Or should I give you another few minutes?” Lacey gazed down at the man, searching his posture, body language and facial expression, trying to figure out any little bit of information she could.
”I think for today, I’m just going to stick with coffee. Thank you though.” He gave her a pleasant little smile, causing Lacey’s lips to twitch into a smile.
“Oh okay, well if you change your mind please don’t hesitate to ask.” She turned and walked a few steps, but something in her stopped. She turned around and went to say something but nothing came out. Staring at the man, she noticed the way he kept his gaze out the window, as if he was deep in thought. Not wanting to bother him anymore she walked along and served all her other tables.
Ten minutes later, she glanced back at table five to notice the man had not moved an inch. He sat there sipping his coffee with his attention still out the window. Itching at her more and more, she wanted so badly to go over and talk to him.
“Rachel, do you think it would be alright to take my break early? I could see if Lindsey could cover my tables for me?” Rachel was the manager of the diner and was a nice old lady who treated Lacey as her daughter.
“Sweetheart, you have been working none stop today, take a twenty minute break and relax. I will get your tables for you don’t worry alright?” Lacey gave Rachel a grateful smile as she handed Rachel over her apron and walked towards the front door to go get some fresh air.
On her way to the door, her eyes scanned the room, and landed on the man. Something in her screamed for her to go talk to him. Before she knew it, she was at the edge of the table staring down at the man. Feeling someone’s eyes on him, the man turned to Lacey with a questionable expression on his face.
“Do you mind if I join you?” The words left Lacey’s mouth before she knew what she was saying. A big smile spread across the man’s face as he nodded and gestured for her to sit down. Sliding into the opposite side of the booth, her eyes never left his. Sitting in the silence, Lacey tried to form in her head what she wanted to say. Never had she ever been this shy with a person. Usually you couldn’t get her to shut up, but now she felt speechless and unsure of what to say.
“Did you know it’s impossible to kill yourself by holding your breath?” After the words had left Lacey’s mouth, she brought her hand up and quickly covered her mouth, embarrassed by what she said. The man let out a light chuckle before taking another sip of his coffee.
“Sorry when I get awkward, I awkwardly ramble, kind of a habit.” Lacey fidgeted with her hands as she tried to calm herself down. The man’s smile quickly faded as he mumbled something quietly to himself.
“Sorry, did you say something?” Lacey asked, politely.
“No sorry; just mumbling to myself.” He placed down his cup and folded his hands.
“Can I ask you something?” Lacey asked, trying to break the awkward silence.
“Yes Ma’am, what can I do for you?” Lacey tried to smile at his military manners, but it made the aching pain in her chest harder to handle.
“What is your story, if you don’t mind me asking?” Lacey’s eyes searched the man’s face hoping to find some kind of answer that would make this feeling of curiosity inside go away.
“Uhh, I’m sorry miss. I don’t think I understand what you mean?” His eyes bored into hers, making her gulp back the feeling that irked for her to ask him everything that rumbled through her head.
“Please don’t feel offend or anything if I’m being too nosey, but every day for the past three days, you have come into this diner and sat by yourself. By looking at you I can tell that you’re probably in the military and by the look of the wedding rings around your neck that you have some complications with your relationships. I know I probably shouldn’t be asking a stranger all these personally questions but something about you draws me in and make me curious.” Lucy’s gut was bursting with anxiety, knowing that she shouldn’t be prying into some stranger’s life like this, but maybe there was a reason this man had come to the dinner.
“Umm, well I am in the military, and my wife died if you wondering about the wedding rings, but there’s not much to my life except regret and my job.” The man glanced at Lacey, before staring down at his hands. By the looking at the man’s body language, Lacey could tell that even though the man looked serious and tough, inside he was hurting and probably lonely.
“I’m extremely sorry for you loss. I understand what it’s like to lose people. I lost my mother when I was born.” For the first time in years, tears started to well up in her eyes. Lacey was never one to cry but for some reason talking about her parents was always a sore subject and was usually never talked about.
Lacey tried to shrug off the tears and put up her hard exterior but the distress look on the man’s face made a pain throb in her chest. She felt vulnerable and embarrassed for crying in front of the man. Looking away and trying to regain her composure, a hand with a white napkin appeared in her vision. Slowly grabbing the napkin, she stared back at the man unsure of what to say; however it was as if no words were needed.
“I’m sorry for crying like this. I’m usually never like this, but my parents are a sore subject for me. I’m sure you probably want me to leave you and you’re probably thinking I’m some crazy girl, who goes around talking to strangers about my problems, but I’m really not and I’m extremely sorry if I bothered you.” Lacey quickly wiped the edges of her eyes before turning to shuffle out of the booth.
“Wait, please don’t leave. I don’t think you’re crazy at all, I just think that you have had a hard life and that you have been so self dependent for so long that you have kept everything in and sometimes all it takes is to have someone to talk to and lean on. I’m sorry about your life and I wish so much that a young lady like you could have so much better.” Lacey stared down at the hand that was placed over hers, stopping her from moving any further in the booth.
Uncertain of what to do or feel, Lacey’s eyes gazed between the simple gesture of his hand and the caring expression on his face. Ever since her father left, never had Lacey let any kind of caring affection from a guy happen. Lacey had been very guarded growing up because of the lack of a male model in her life which caused her to have very short relationships due to trust issues or even having any guys as friends for the matter. However this time she didn’t mind it, because she actually felt comfort.
“Who are you?” Lacey narrowed her eyes on the man, trying to figure out why everything felt so suspicious and different. Did she know this man?
“What do you mean?” The man asked, removing his hand. The man looked at Lacey with a serious face, his eyes searching hers.
“Why do you seem so familiar and why do I feel relaxed with you?” Every word was like a bullet piercing the man causing a baffle look to surface on his face.
“Listen Lac…” The man was quickly cut off by Rachel, who emerged out of nowhere.
“Lacey I’m extremely sorry but I really need your help for a couple minutes. I would ask Lindsey or someone else but they are busy with tables.” Rachel said in a panic. Lacey turned her attention back to the man, who was staring down with a disappointed look on his face.
“Uhh…err” Lacey felt in a state of shock. Did the man almost say her name? She didn’t tell him her name, how does he know it?”
“Its fine, I should be going anyways.” The man went to stand up but Lacey stuck out her hand to stop him.
“Please, stay. Give me a few minutes. Please I need to know. I’ll be right back.” She pleaded, her eyes filled with hope.
“Okay.” The man mumbled, unsure of what to say next. Getting up and leaving the man, Lacey heart was racing in her chest. She knew something was up and actually felt anxious and so nervous that her palms felt sweaty.
Racing around and trying to keep her focus to the task at hand, Lacey was doing everything possible to finish as fast as she could. Her thoughts however kept wandering back to the man. When she had finally finished, she raced back to the table to find the booth was empty. Her heart dropped and her eyes closed knowing the man hadn’t waited. She leaned out a hand and supported herself against the table. Feeling devastated, she sat down on the edge of the booth. Why didn’t he wait? Siting up, she noticed the money sitting on the table. She knew that she shouldn’t had gotten her hopes up but something about this man made her feel a confidence that things were actually going to work out. As she went to turn her attention to out the window, a piece of white paper caught her eye. Slowly reaching out and unfolding the paper, she felt herself gasp at what it said.
I’m sorry I didn’t wait, however it seems like today wasn’t meant to be the day that we were fully reunited. I know I should have probably told you who I was, but sitting there in the dinner watching you so happy, made me realize exactly how stupid I have been for missing so much of your life. I’m extremely sorry for all the pain I have caused you and I swear on my life that this will not be the last time we talk or see each other. I am going to try everything in my power to make it up to you. I love you with all my heart and every second of everyday in the last 12 years I have regretted ever leaving you and I hope you know that never was there a moment you weren’t on my mind. You are my baby girl, and I hope that you can forgive me and that we can somehow find that father daughter relationship we were always meant to have. Whenever you decide you are ready, please call me and we will meet. Also please know that if you ever need to talk, I am only a phone call away, no matter the time or place. I love you and I will always be there for you.
Love always, Dad.
The tears were pouring down Lacey cheeks as she gripped the paper to her chest like it was the last breath to her existence. That man that sat only two feet away was her dad. Was the man that she had so long wanted to find and now there he was.
Reading over the paper once again, she stared down at the phone number that was at the bottom of the paper. Standing as fast as she could, she sprinted to the back room and pulled out her cell phone. Slowly sitting down on the bench and dialling the number, her heart was beating thunderously in her chest. She wasn’t just calling a stranger anymore. This was her dad.
*Oh baby girl, I didn’t think you would call me this soon, but it’s good to hear your voice again.
* I have missed you so much.
*Me too baby girl.
*I love you, Dad
*I love you too sweetheart.
Finally after twelve year, just those simple five words seemed to have meant the world. I’m not saying that everything was going to be fixed over night, but that small feeling of hope was enough to take the weight of the world of her shoulders and for once put the genuinely happy smile on her face. All it took was one mysterious man to walk into the small diner for everything to change…